Two historic military aircraft collided and crashed to the ground during an air show in Dallas on Saturday. It was not clear how many people were on board the plane or if anyone on the ground was injured.
Anthony Montoya said he saw the two planes collide.
“I just stood there. I was in complete shock and disbelief,” said Montoya, 27, who attended the air show with a friend. “Everyone in the neighborhood was gasping for breath. Everyone burst into tears. Everyone was in shock.”
Emergency services rushed to the crash site at the Dallas Executive Airport, about 10 miles from the city center.
Live TV news footage of the scene showed people lining up orange cones around the crumpled wreckage of the bomber, which was located in a grassy field.
“The videos are heartbreaking,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson wrote on Twitter, adding that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had taken control of the accident site, with support from local police and fire departments.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided and crashed at about 1:20 p.m. local time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement. The collision occurred during the Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Dallas show.
The B-17, an immense four-engined bomber, was a cornerstone of the United States Air Force during World War II. The Kingcobra, an American fighter jet, was mainly used by Soviet troops during the war. Most of the B-17s were scrapped at the end of World War II, and only a handful remain today, most of which are on display in museums and air shows, according to Boeing.
Several videos posted to Twitter showed the fighter jet appearing to fly into the bomber, causing them to quickly crash to the ground, setting off a large ball of fire and smoke.
“It was really horrific to watch,” said Aubrey Anne Young, 37, of Leander, Texas, who saw the crash. Her children were in the hangar with their father when it happened. “I’m still trying to understand.”
A woman next to Young can be heard crying and screaming hysterically in a video Young uploaded to her Facebook page.
The safety of air shows, especially on older military aircraft, has been a concern for years. In 2011, 11 people died in Reno, Nev. — including a Canadian couple — when a P-51 Mustang collided with spectators. In 2019, a bomber crashed in Hartford, Conn., killing seven people. The NTSB said it had investigated 21 World War II bomber accidents since 1982, with 23 fatalities.
As many of you have now seen, we had a terrible tragedy in our city during an air show today. Many details are unknown or unconfirmed at this time. The @NTSB has taken command of the crash scene with @DallasPD and @DallasFireRes_q continue to provide support.
Wings Over Dallas calls itself “America’s Premier World War II Airshow,” according to a website promoting the event. The show was scheduled from Friday to Sunday, the weekend of Veterans Day, and guests would see more than 40 World War II aircraft. Flight demonstrations, including a “bomber parade” and “fighter escorts”, with the B-17 and P-63, were on the Saturday afternoon program.
Videos from past Wings Over Dallas events show vintage fighter jets flying low, sometimes in close formation, over simulated shelling or bombing. The videos also show the planes performing aerobatic stunts.
The FAA also launched an investigation, officials said.