A World War Two era Boeing B-17G operating a civilian flight has crashed shortly taking off at Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport, leaving seven people dead.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the vintage Boeing B-17G crashed at the end of Runway 6 while attempting to land at about 1000 local time on Wednesday.
“It is a civilian registered aircraft, not flown by the military,” the FAA said on Twitter.
— The FAA (@FAANews) October 2, 2019
VIDEO: A news report from WFSB 3 showing the accident site from the broadcaster’s YouTube channel.
Connecticut Airport Authority executive director Kevin Dillon said it was about five minutes into the flight when the pilots indicated to the air traffic control tower they were experiencing “some type of problem with the aircraft”.
“We did observe that the aircraft was not gaining altitude,” Dillon told reporters on Wednesday afternoon (US time).
“The aircraft attempted to return to the runway. It circled around the airport but unfortunately upon touchdown the aircraft obviously lost control and struck what is known as our de-icing facility here.”
We can confirm that there was an accident involving a Collings Foundation World War II aircraft this morning at Bradley Airport. We have an active fire and rescue operation underway. The airport is closed. We will issue further updates as information becomes available.
— Bradley Intl Airport (@Bradley_Airport) October 2, 2019
The airport was immediately closed as fire and rescue teams responded to the scene. It was reopened about four hours later.
Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella said there were 13 people on the aircraft – 10 passengers and three crew members.
Later, media reports indicated there seven people had died in the accident. Further, a civilian on the ground was also injured as a result of the crash.
A Connecticut local of the IAFF firefighters union has tweeted this image from Bradley International Airport, saying: 'Our crews are operating at an aircraft crash.' A local fire department says the plane that crashed was a vintage Boeing B-17 bomber. pic.twitter.com/H2nWN4mx02
— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) October 2, 2019
The United States National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) said it had sent two people to the site of the accident to investigate what happened.
NTSB board Member Jennifer Homendy and investigator Dan Bower at the scene Wednesday of the crash of a B-17 at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut. pic.twitter.com/uDblzYtiJl
— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) October 2, 2019
Collings Foundation, the owner of the aircraft, expressed thanks for the work of the emergency services staff at the scene.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were on that flight and we be will forever grateful to the heroic efforts of the first responders at Bradley,” Collings Foundation said in a statement on its Facebook page.
“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.”
United States Senator for Connecticut Richard Blumenthal said the aircraft involved in the accident was one of 18 of the type still in service in the country.
VIDEO: A media conference with officials on the crashed B-17 from Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s YouTube channel.