Watch: Two planes collide midair during Dallas WWII air show – 6 fatalities

Six people were killed after two historic military planes collided in midair during an airshow in Dallas, Texas.

“According to our Dallas County Medical Examiner, there are a total of 6 fatalities from yesterday’s Wings over Dallas air show incident.” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted Sunday. “Authorities will continue working today on the investigation & identification of the deceased. Please pray for their families and all involved.”

The Allied Pilots Association, the American Airlines pilots’ union, said on Twitter that two of their former members, Terry Barker and Len Root had perished in the accident.

The crash occurred on Saturday during the Wings Over Dallas airshow at the Dallas Executive Airport. The airshow is conducted by the Texas non-profit Commemorative Air Force, an organization who’s mission it is to preserve aviation history, and share their love and admiration for the aircraft and the individuals who piloted them with the public.

The Wings Over Dallas airshow was World War II themed, and had an array of aircraft on display. The incident occurred in the afternoon when a B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided over the airfield resulting in a large explosion as the two aircraft fell to the ground.

The two planes were part of a fleet of 180 aircraft that are meticulously maintained by the nonprofit according to Hank Coates, CEO and president of the Commemorative Air Force. Coates also confirmed that the B-17 was normally crewed, an aircraft that typically has a crew of four or five, and the P-63 would only have one pilot, but was unable to reveal the exact number of crew members involved while federal investigators have jurisdiction over the incident.

Coates also confirmed that no paying customers were onboard either aircraft at the time of the crash.

Coates described the event as “very patriotic.” “This was a World War II flight-demonstration type of air show,” Coates said. “It’s very patriotic.”

Coates insisted that not only are their aircraft expertly maintained but that the pilots themselves are highly experienced – often from both commercial and military backgrounds – but are also independently vetted by the CAF itself.

“There is a very strict process of vetting and training,” Coates said.

The show the organization’s seventh year running in Dallas where 4,000 were in attendance. Although some debris from the crash were reportedly found at a nearby shopping center, no injuries on the ground were reported. The airshow has cancelled its Sunday performance due to the incident.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson expressed his condolences to the participants and their families involved in Saturday’s events asking his followers to “say a prayer” for those affected.

According to Johnson, the FAA are now leading an inquiry into the incident and the Dallas Executive Airport will remain closed for the duration of the investigation.

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