On Wednesday, the Boeing B-17 aircraft, which the US Air Force deployed against Germany and Japan, crashed at Bradley International Airport while trying to land around 10:00 am, a local media reported.
The World War II bomber was carrying 13 passengers and crew when it crashed at the airport in the northeastern US state of Connecticut. The incident killed at least seven people. Ten passengers and three crew were on the aircraft. It was being operated by the Collings Foundation, a group catering to aviation buffs to pay to experience vintage planes officials said.
James Rovella, a Connecticut state disaster emergency official, told a news conference that there had been fatalities but added it was too early to say the exact number. He said that “Burn victims are very difficult to identify. We don’t want to make a mistake.”
Rovella further stated that a maintenance officer while working on the ground was also injured. Officials sad that the crash left at least seven dead and nine injured including three people who were on the ground at the time.
Just after ten minutes of the flight’s taking off at 9:45 am, the pilots radioed the control tower to say they were experiencing problems, said Kevin Dillon, director of the state’s airport authority.
“We could see they could not gain altitude. Upon touchdown they obviously lost control, struck our de-icing facility here as well as a maintenance facility,” he told reporters. The Hartford Hospital said among the six patients, three are in critical stage. However, it was not immediately clear what caused the crash.
The photos circulating on social media and carried by US media outlets showed a thick black plume of smoke billowing from the crash site. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said the plane was one of only 18 B-17s left in the country, and that the crash might have implications for the flying of vintage aircraft.
“If there were defects or improper maintenance as a cause, it is a very strong red flashing light for others who are flying these planes,” he said. The airport was closed for several hours before later reopening.