7 dead in World War II plane crash at Connecticut airport


At least seven people are dead after a World War II plane crashed at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut on Wednesday, officials and a source have told ABC News.

The vintage Boeing B-17 crashed at 9:54 a.m. at the end of a runway while trying to land, sending plumes of smoke into the air, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Thirteen people were on board the plane: 10 passengers and three crew members, officials said. Fourteen were injured in the crash, officials said, including all of those on board and an airport employee on the ground.

Six of the injured, including three people in critical condition, were taken to Hartford Hospital, said hospital officials.

Two Simsbury, Connecticut, firefighters were on the plane and survived, the fire chief told ABC News.

Jessica Hill/AP
A fire-and-rescue operation is underway where World War II-era bomber plane crashed at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.
PHOTO: In this aerial image taken from video, emergency crews respond to where a World War II-era bomber B-17 plane crashed at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., Oct. 2, 2019.WFXT Boston 25 News via AP
In this aerial image taken from video, emergency crews respond to where a World War II-era bomber B-17 plane crashed at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., Oct. 2, 2019.

Five minutes into the flight, a problem was reported to the tower, said officials. The pilot tried to return to the runway and circle around but on touchdown the plane lost control and struck a de-icing facility, officials said.

Witness Gerald Cyr told ABC News he noticed the plane wasn’t lined up with the runway and “knew something was wrong.”

“Ten seconds after, maybe less than that, it disappeared, big puff of smoke, and it did crash,” he said.

PHOTO: A plane crashed at Bradley Airport in Conn., Oct 2, 2019.Dave Colavecchio/Twitter
A plane crashed at Bradley Airport in Conn., Oct 2, 2019.

Bradley International Airport — the second largest in New England — shut down immediately after the fiery crash. The airport reopened shortly before 2 p.m., but the runway where the accident occurred remained closed.

The World War II plane was civilian registered — not flown by the military, according to the FAA, and was part of the Wings of Freedom tour, according to ABC New Haven affiliate WTNH.

The same plane had an incident in 1987 when it ran off a runway in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, according to an NTSB report. Three of the 12 people on board the flight were injured.

PHOTO: A fire-and-rescue operation is underway where World War II-era bomber plane crashed at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.Jessica Hill/AP
A fire-and-rescue operation is underway where World War II-era bomber plane crashed at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.

Officials with the Collings Foundation, an educational foundation which holds the Wings of Freedom tour, said in a statement: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were on that flight and we will be forever grateful to the heroic efforts of the first responders at Bradley Airport. The Collings Foundation flight team is fully cooperating with officials to determine the cause of the crash of the B-17 Flying Fortress.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said on Twitter he’s calling for an immediate investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) “so we can get to the bottom of what happened & prevent future tragedies.”

“Vintage planes must be properly maintained & flown— & the NTSB must tell us whether this tragedy could have been prevented,” Blumenthal said.

PHOTO: In this June 6, 2016, file photo, a World War II-era Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress airplane banks in the air as it comes in for a landing in Seattle on the anniversary of D-Day.Ted S. Warren/AP, FILE
In this June 6, 2016, file photo, a World War II-era Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress airplane banks in the air as it comes in for a landing in Seattle on the anniversary of D-Day.

The NTSB said it’s sending a team to the crash site.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont tweeted: “Our prayers our with the victims and their families.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., wrote on Twitter, “My heart goes out to everyone impacted by this crash.”

ABC News’ Whit Johnson, Aaron Katersky, Christine Theodorou, Jason Kuang and Alyssa Acquavella contributed to this report.



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