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Multiple deaths and injuries reported after WWII-era B17 bomber crashes in CT

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress (Alan Wilson/WikiCommons)
October 02, 2019

Emergency crews are responding to a plane crash Wednesday at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut where multiple deaths and injuries have been reported.

At least two people have died after a vintage World War II-era Boeing B17 Flying Fortress bomber crashed, according to the Hartford Courant. Three more were critically injured and one person was seen being airlifted from the site of the crash at around 10:50 a.m. local time.

A Wednesday morning tweet from the airport confirmed the incident, reported active fire and rescue operations underway, and said the airport was shut down.

“We can confirm that there was an accident involving a Collings Foundation World War II aircraft this morning at Bradley Airport. We have an active fire and rescue operation underway. The airport is closed,” the airport’s tweet said.

Video of the crash shows fire and large plume of black smoke visible from some distance.

The plane in question was a Collings Foundation World War II aircraft that was part of the Wings of Freedom tour.

A Bradly Airport construction saw the accident unfold and told News 8 the aircraft was attempting to take off but did not have enough power. The aircraft apparently tried to land but struck the ground and damaged the fuel tank of the plane.

In a statement provided to NBC News, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the B-17 crashed at the end of Bradley International Airport’s Runway 6, at approximately 10 a.m.

At a press briefing of the accident covered by Fox News, authorities confirmed the B-17 notified the traffic control tower it was experiencing difficulties gaining altitude and attempted to land, but struck a de-icing facility during its landing attempt. When the aircraft crashed, its fuel fed the resulting fire.

James Rovella, the Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection for the state of Connecticut, said there were 13 people on the B-17. Of those aboard, three were part of the flight crew and the other 10 were passengers. Rovella said there was also a person on the ground in a maintenance facility near the crash who was also injured in the crash.

Rovella said it was too early to identify the extent of fatalities as the fire made victim identification more difficult and efforts are still being made to determine what hospitals the remaining victims were sent to as well as to notify victim’s families.

Rovella said National Transportation Safety Board personnel are investigating the crash and members of the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and FAA are also present.

“Remember, these are husbands and wives and brothers and sisters and children and all members of our Connecticut family,” Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said during the press briefing. “Our hearts are broken for you right now. We’re doing everything we can. We’ve got an amazing group of people who are going to get to the bottom of this as soon as we can.”

The airport reopened one runway for the remainder of the day, though many flights were reportedly delayed or cancelled.