At Least 7 Dead After WWII-Era Aircraft Crashes At Bradley Airport

Marta Zielinska
October 02, 2019 - 7:11 pm

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WCBS 880)  Officials have confirmed there were multiple fatalities when a World War II-era bomber plane struggled to gain altitude and crashed just minutes after taking off from Bradley International Airport in Connecticut on Wednesday morning.

Ten passengers and three crew members were on board when the plane took off on Runway 6 at approximately 9:45 a.m.

"Five minutes into the flight, the aircraft indicated to the tower that they were experiencing some type of problem," said Kevin Dillon, executive director of Connecticut Airport Authority. "We did observe that the aircraft was not gaining altitude."

While attempting to land, the aircraft lost control, striking a deicing and maintenance facility at 9:54 a.m.

A state official speaking on condition of anonymity told the Associated Press that at least seven people have died.

Officials said several others were also injured, including a person who was in the maintenance facility at the time of the crash. Officials would not comment if any of the victims are children. 

The airport, which was closed after the crash, has since reopened with cancelations and delays. 

Images and video from the scene that were posted to social media showed flames and large plumes of smoke coming from the crash site.

The crash involved a vintage B-17 Flying Fortress operated by the Collings Foundation, which issued a statement saying, "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. The Collings Foundation flight team is fully cooperating with officials to determine the cause of the crash of the B-17 Flying Fortress and will comment further when details become known."

The same plane was involved in a crash in 1987 at an air show near Pittsburgh, that left three people hurt. The aircraft overshot the runway at Beaver County Airport as it was tring to land in gusty winds.The FAA determined the plane's airspeed was excessive and cited pilot errors.

The aircraft was one of five historic planes at the airport this week as part of the Massachusetts-based nonprofit's Wings of Freedom Tour. The foundation routinely displays the aircraft at airports around the country and offers flights to the public for donations to the group. They were scheduled to be at Bradley International Airport from Tuesday to Thursday.

PHOTOS: Vintage B-17 ‘Flying Fortress’ Before The Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board, FAA, Homeland Security, FBI and Connecticut State Police are investigating.

There are just 18 B-17 aircraft in the entire country. Blumenthal said all of the bombers should be grounded until the investigation is complete.

"The possibility of defects in the plane, improper maintenance or inept flying, clearly potentially cost lives here," Sen. Richard Blumenthal said. "These lives lost and injuries should have been preventable."

Any family member looking for information on the crash is asked to call the Connecticut State Police Message Center at 860-685-8190.