The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed on Sunday that six individuals were killed when two military planes from World War II collided in midair and crashed at Dallas Executive Airport on Saturday afternoon.
A representative from the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office told CNN over the phone, “We can confirm that there are six” (the number of fatalities).
After two antique planes, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra, crashed at the Wings Almost Dallas airshow, over 40 fire rescue units rushed to the area.
The mayor of Dallas has described the video of the crash as “heartbreaking,” showing the planes disintegrating in midair after the collision, plunging to the ground seconds later, and exploding into flames. Here’s the latest as National Transportation Safety Board agents arrive on Sunday to investigate.
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What we know about the crew members killed
On Saturday at 1:20 p.m., the crash occurred, according to the FAA. Two pilot retirees and former union members were among those killed in the crash, according to the Allied Pilots Association, the pilots’ union for American Airlines.
The APA announced on social media that former members Terry Barker and Len Root were serving as crew on a B-17 Flying Fortress during the airshow.
We grieve with them and their loved ones and former and current coworkers,” the union added. As a result of what happened, the APA is providing free, professional therapy at their Fort Worth offices. Keller Mayor Armin Mizani also shared the news of Barker’s passing on Sunday morning via Facebook.
Barker was a member of the Keller City Council. Terry Barker, a husband, father, Army veteran, and former councilman for Keller, Texas, was killed in the plane disaster that occurred during the Dallas Air Show, Mizani wrote.
Many people have a soft spot for Terry Barker. I considered him a friend and sought his advice frequently. Even after retiring from serving on the City Council and flying for American Airlines, his devotion to community remained unmistakable.” Col. Pete Bowden, commander of the Civil Air Patrol, announced on Sunday that Maj. Curtis J. Rowe, a 30-year veteran of the Ohio Wing, was also killed in the crash.
During his time with the Civil Air Patrol, Rowe held several different positions, including safety officer, operations officer, and most recently, maintenance officer for the Ohio Wing, according to Bowden. Rowe’s family was told of his death Saturday evening, the commander stated.
I try to take comfort in the knowledge that great pilots like Curt go out doing what they adored. Bowden wrote on Facebook that the CAP community should be “forever grateful” to Curt because of the impact he had on the lives of thousands of people, especially the cadets he flew on orientation flights and instructed at Flight Academies. He bid farewell to a distinguished pilot, friend, and fellow Auxiliary Airman.
At a press conference on Saturday, Hank Coates, president and chief executive officer of the Commemorative Air Force, a group that restores and maintains historic military aircraft, said, “The B-17 generally has a crew of four or five. That was what was on the aircraft,” while the P-63 is a “single-piloted fighter type aircraft.” Both planes have been traced back to Houston by the Commemorative Air Force.
While the Dallas Executive Airport grounds, Highway 67, and an adjacent strip mall were all affected by the crash, no onlookers or bystanders were hurt.
Rare Aircraft are in play
The Commemorative Air Force, often known as the “Texas Raiders,” has been storing the B-17 in a hangar in Conroe, Texas, which is located close to Houston.
It was one of about 45 complete surviving examples of the model, only nine of which were airworthy.
The P-63 was even rarer. There are believed to be around 14 still in existence; four in the United States are still airworthy, with one belonging to the Commemorative Air Force.
More than 12,000 B-17s were produced by Boeing, Douglas Aircraft and Lockheed between 1936 and 1945, with nearly 5,000 lost during the war, and most of the rest scrapped by the early 1960s. During World War II, the Soviet Air Force made heavy use of the approximately 3,300 P-63s manufactured by Bell Aircraft between 1943 and 1945.
The National Transportation Safety Board has activated the emergency response team
The FAA was heading the investigation into the air show incident on Saturday, but the NTSB took over the probe once its crew reached the scene, the agency said at a news conference Sunday. The NTSB claims that the team it sends to crash sites is made up of technicians who are routinely tasked with determining the cause of plane crashes.
“Our staff slowly and systematically evaluates all information and considers all potential causes to determine the probable cause, NTSB member Michael Graham said.
Investigators have started obtaining the audio recordings from the air traffic control tower and conducting interviews with the other formation crews and air show operations, according to Graham. Neither aircraft was equipped with a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder, widely known as the “black box,” he noted.
Investigators investigated the accident site using both an NTSB drone and a photograph of the scene from the ground to capture the area before the wreckage is relocated to a secure place, Graham said. A preliminary report on the disaster is due in four to six weeks, but the whole inquiry might take between 12 and 18 months.
Graham urged any bystanders to contact the NTSB and turn over any images or videos they may have taken of the crash.
To quote Graham: “They’ll be very crucial since we don’t have any flight data recorder data or cockpit voice recorders or anything like [those devices]. “They’ll be very important to analyse the collision and tie that in with the aircraft control recordings to determine why the two aircraft collided and, basically, the how and why this accident happened and, eventually, hopefully, maybe make some safety recommendations to prevent it from happening again,” says the author.
Volunteers who fly the aircraft in CAF airshows undergo rigorous training, as per Coates. Many of them are airline pilots, retired airline pilots or retired military pilots.
In Coates’s words, the planes’ movements lacked any sort of “dynamic” quality. Bombers on Parade is the term used to describe the event.
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This has nothing to do with planes. Coates firmly stated, “It’s just not.” I can assure you that the planes are of the highest quality and safety. They are in pristine condition. In terms of training, the pilots are top-notch. Because of my familiarity with the people involved—they are friends and family—I find it challenging to discuss.
After the crash, Mayor Johnson tweeted, “As many of you have now seen, we have had a tragedy in our city today during an airshow. There is still a lot of uncertainty and unconfirmed information.
The footage is incredibly upsetting. In a separate tweet, Johnson asked followers to “please say a prayer for the souls who took to the sky to entertain and educate our families today.”
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