Nov 13, 2022 - News

Six dead after midair collision at Dallas airshow

A B-17 Flying Fortress like the one that crashed in Dallas. Photo: Liang Sen/Xinhua via Getty Images

A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided midair at the Wings Over Dallas airshow on Saturday afternoon, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The latest: Six people were killed in the crash, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said on Twitter. No spectators were injured.

What happened: Videos posted to social media appeared to show the smaller P-63 bank and slam into the slower B-17 as horrified onlookers watched. The B-17 split in half before falling to ground, where a large fireball emerged.

  • Leah Block, a spokesperson for the Commemorative Air Force, told ABC News that she believes there were five crew members on the B-17 and one aboard the P-63.
  • The crash occurred near the Dallas Executive Airport, about 10 miles south of downtown.

Details: Allied Pilots, a union representing American Airlines pilots, identified two of the B-17 crew as former union members — Terry Barker, 67, and Len Root, 66 — according to the Dallas Morning News.

  • Both planes were from Houston, according to the Commemorative Air Force, the group that put on the airshow.
  • About 4,000 people attended the event, which was meant to educate the public about World War II history and honor American veterans, per the New York Times. Some witnesses initially believed the crash was part of the show.

What they're saying: Hank Coates, president of the Commemorative Air Force, said at a news conference that the group's pilots were well-trained and licensed volunteers, typically former airline or military pilots. He noted that a midair collision at an airshow like this is "extremely rare," per the Washington Post.

Between the lines: Airshow safety has been a concern for years. Since 1982, the National Transportation Safety Board has investigated at least 21 accidents involving World War II-era bombers, resulting in 23 deaths, according to the AP.

What's next: The FAA and the NTSB will investigate the incident. Crash investigations can take several years to complete.


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