The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided and crashed at approximately 1:20 p.m.
DALLAS — Two historic military aircraft collided and crashed to the ground Saturday during an air show in Dallas, federal officials said, sending plumes of black smoke into the sky.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided and crashed at approximately 1:20 p.m. The collision occurred during the Air Force Memorial Wings display over Dallas.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Sunday Six people died in the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board later confirmed the deaths during a news conference Sunday afternoon.
“The authorities will continue to work today in the investigation and identification of the deceased,” he said on social media. “Please pray for their families and everyone involved.”
During Sunday’s news conference, the NTSB confirmed the presence of five crew members on the B-17 and one on board the P-63.
Four of the six victims have been identified so far: Terry Parker, Curtis Rowe, Craig Houten and Lynn Root.
Related: What we know about the victims of the Dallas airshow crash
According to the NTSB, neither plane had a flight data recorder, also known as a “black box”. NTSB said Video clips and photos from witnesses will be crucial to the investigation.
Anyone with videos and photos is urged to contact the NTSB at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Houston-based airline was not offering flights to paying customers at the time, said Leah Block, a spokeswoman for the Memorial Air Force.
A massive four-engine bomber, the B-17 was a cornerstone of the US Air Force during World War II. The Kingcobra, an American combat aircraft, was mostly used by the Soviet forces during the war. Most of the B-17s were scrapped at the end of World War II and only a handful remain today, heavily featured in museums and air shows, according to Boeing.
The National Transportation Safety Board also said the wreckage was scattered but contained mostly airport property.
The debris from the accident landed on Interstate 67 southbound, sources told WFAA Jason Whiteley. Both the southbound and northbound lanes of the highway. 67 were closed due to the accident, According to the Dallas police.
many of From the videos posted on Twitter It showed two planes that seemed to collide in the air before both of them rapidly descended, causing a huge fire to break out and plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.
John Kettles, an aviation attorney, believed that two World War II-era planes were operating properly at the time of the accident, but noted the P-63’s poor visibility.
“The age of the aircraft is a bit misleading. There are a lot of really old aircraft that are still flying safely. There are airworthiness requirements,” he said. Just a huge loss likely caused by a temporary lapse of judgment or temporary negligence.”
The NTSB and Kettles said Sunday that the investigation will also look at the size of the area the planes were able to fly over and the plan to keep everyone involved safe, as well as whether the planes followed a pre-planned routine.
“That’s part of the process we’ll go through which is trying to determine what those processes and procedures are and if they’re being followed accurately,” said Michael Graham, a member of the NTSB Board of Directors. The evidence leads us to the appropriate conclusions but at this point we wouldn’t expect what happened.”
“It’s definitely an airport but it’s not a giant piece of real estate when it comes to a lot of planes doing a lot of creative things on a small space,” Kettles said. Plan to keep everything safe because that plan obviously didn’t work out.”
Kettles said the investigations, which can take a year or more, rely mostly on technical experts on the air show and keep family members in the dark.
“The problem with this process is that the people who influence the NTSB’s outcome are likely the ones who had a hand in causing the meltdown,” he said.
Marvela Garcia, who was working with the show as a Chevrolet brand ambassador, said she was talking to someone doing a survey when the accident happened, and the person she was talking to said, “Wow, look at that explosion.”
“I looked up and said, ‘This is just part of the show,’” Garcia said. “There is a show within the show. The planes will cross and then there will be small explosions.”
Garcia said she soon realized he wasn’t part of the show. She said she’s worked on many shows like this where it’s normal to see re-enactments of planes and explosions.
“Some people thought it was a re-enactment,” Garcia said of the crowd’s reaction to the incident. “Whenever it happened, everyone was in shock like, is this really happening or is this just a re-enactment?”
Airshow safety—especially 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 Windsor Locks, Connecticut, killing seven people. The NTSB said then that it had investigated 21 accidents since 1982 involving World War II-era bombers that killed 23 people.
Wings Over Dallas bills itself as “America’s Premier World War II Air Show,” according to a website announcing the event. The show was scheduled for November 11-13, Veterans Day weekend, and guests were scheduled to see more than 40 World War II-era aircraft.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted the following statement on Saturday:
“As many of you have seen by now, we witnessed a terrible tragedy in our city today during an airshow. Many details are still unknown or uncertain at this time. Tweet embed He took command of the scene with Tweet embed And the Tweet embed Continue to support.”
Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation president and former Republican state representative Jason Villalba said he was at the airshow today.
“We left at 12:00 and George and I planned to take a ride on the B-17,” Villalba told WFAA. “We didn’t because it was sold out. Cool.”
The FAA issued the following statement to the WFAA:
A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell B-63 King Cobra collided and crashed at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow at Dallas Executive Airport in Texas around 1:20 p.m. local time Saturday. At this time, it is not known how many people were on both planes. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be responsible for the investigation and will provide additional updates.
Memorial Air Force/Wings Over Dallas sent WFAA this statement:
“This afternoon, two planes were involved in a mid-air collision at Dallas Executive Airport. The planes were a B-17 and a P-63 Kingcobra, both out of Houston. At this time, we have no information on the status of the flight crew as emergency responders are working on The accident. The Memorial Air Force is working with local authorities and the FAA, and the NTSB will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident. Any available information will be posted at www.commemorativeairforce.org.”
This is an evolving story. Check back for updates. The Associated Press contributed to this story.