Dallas air show disaster: six confirmed dead after planes collide

There were no casualties on the ground after the aircraft collided at low altitude and crashed near a runway

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Two historic military planes collided and crashed to the ground on Saturday during a Dallas air show, federal officials said, killing all on board both aircraft.

“According to our Dallas County Medical Examiner, there are a total of six fatalities from yesterday’s Wings over Dallas air show incident,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said on Sunday.

Hank Coates, president of the company that put on the air show, said one of the planes, a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, typically has a crew of four to five people. The other, a P-63 Kingcobra fighter plane, has a single pilot.

Emergency crews raced to the crash scene at the Dallas Executive Airport, about 16 kilometres from the city centre. The collision sent plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.

Live TV news footage from the scene showed people setting up orange cones around the crumpled wreckage of the bomber, which was in a grassy area.

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided and crashed at around 1.20pm, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The collision happened during the Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Dallas show.

Videos posted on Twitter showed the fighter plane appearing to fly into the bomber, causing them to crash to the ground and setting off a large ball of fire and smoke.

“It was really horrific to see,” Aubrey Anne Young, 37, of Leander, Texas. “I’m still trying to make sense of it.”

A woman next to Ms Young can be heard crying and screaming hysterically on a video that Young uploaded to her Facebook page.

An explosion after the collision during the Dallas airshow. AP

Air show safety — particularly with older military aircraft — has been a concern for years. In 2011, 11 people were killed in Reno, Nevada, when a P-51 Mustang crashed into spectators.

In 2019, a bomber crashed in Hartford, Connecticut, killing seven people.

The NTSB said then that it had investigated 21 accidents since 1982 involving Second World War-era bombers, resulting in 23 deaths.

Wings Over Dallas bills itself as “America’s Premier Second World War Airshow,” according to a website advertising the event. The show was scheduled for November 11-13, Veterans Day weekend, and guests were to see more than 40 Second World War-era aircraft.

Its Saturday afternoon schedule included flying demonstrations including a “bomber parade” and “fighter escorts” featured the B-17 and P-63.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were launching investigations.

Updated: November 14, 2022, 5:42 AM
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