Six dead as WW2-era bomber and fighter smash in horrifying mid-air collision

13 November 2022, 09:04 | Updated: 13 November 2022, 13:55

Onlookers captured a huge fireball after the crash in Dallas (actual B-17 not pictured)
Onlookers captured a huge fireball after the crash in Dallas (actual B-17 not pictured). Picture: Social media/Alamy

By Will Taylor

Six people have been killed in a horrifying mid-air crash between two historic aeroplanes at a war memorial airshow.

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A B-17 Flying Fortress bomber and a P-63 King Cobra collided over Dallas Executive Airport during the Second World War-themed Veterans Day exhibit.

Horrified onlookers caught the moment the small P-63 smashes into the much larger bomber, severing its tail and sending the aircraft crashing down to earth.

A huge fireball erupts as it lands on video recorded from eyewitnesses at the Wings Over Dallas event.

The incident happened shortly before midday on Saturday. Authorities confirmed on Sunday that six people in the aircraft had died.

Announcers at Dallas tried to keep up to 6,000 onlookers calm and told them to stay where they were. There were no deaths on the ground.

"Authorities will continue working today on the investigation and identification of the deceased. Please pray for their families and all involved," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Read more: Nation prepares to fall silent in memory of war dead on Remembrance Sunday

Eyewitness Chris Kratovil told the BBC he had "never seen a crowd grow more quiet or more still in just a blink of an eye".

"It went from being a fairly excited, energetic crowd... to complete silence and stillness, and a lot of people, including myself, turned their children towards them and away from the airfield because there was burning wreckage in the middle of the airfield."

Dallas mayor Eric Johnson tweeted: "The videos are heart-breaking. Please, say a prayer for the souls who took to the sky to entertain and educate our families today."

The Commemorative Air Force said: "This afternoon, two aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision at Dallas Executive Airport. The aircraft were a B-17 Flying Fortress and P-63 Kingcobra, both out of Houston.

"Currently, we do not have information on the status of the flight crews as emergency responders are working the accident.

"The Commemorative Air Force is working with local authorities and the FAA, and the NTSB will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident."

A B-17 usually has a crew of five while the P-63 is a single pilot aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration is opening an investigation into the crash.