Six feared dead after military planes collide at Dallas airshow

Unclear how many were aboard aircraft at ‘America’s premier world war II airshow’

Two historical military planes collided and crashed to the ground Saturday during a Dallas airshow, federal officials said, sending plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.

Officials didn’t immediately make clear how many people were on board the aircraft or if anyone on the ground was hurt. Nonetheless, an ABC News producer – citing reporting from a colleague – said on Twitter that at least six people, all crew members, were feared dead after the crash.

Anthony Montoya saw the two planes collide.

“I just stood there. I was in complete shock and disbelief,” said Montoya, 27, who attended the airshow with a friend. “Everybody around was gasping. Everybody was bursting into tears. Everybody was in shock.”

Emergency crews raced to the crash scene at the Dallas Executive airport, about 10 miles from the city’s downtown.

Live news footage from the scene showed people setting up orange cones around the crumpled wreckage of a bomber, which was in a grassy area.

Debris from the two planes immediately after they collided, seen in a screen grab
The two planes immediately after they collided, seen in a screen grab. Photograph: Twitter user @GianKaizen

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided and crashed at about 1.20pm, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement. The collision occurred during the Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Dallas show.

The B-17, an immense four-engine bomber, was a cornerstone of US air power during the second world war. The Kingcobra, a US fighter plane, was used mostly by Soviet forces during the war. Most B-17s were scrapped at the end of the second world war and only a handful remain today, largely featured at museums and airshows, according to Boeing.

Several videos posted on Twitter showed the fighter plane appearing to fly into the bomber, causing them to quickly crash to the ground and setting off a large ball of fire and smoke.

The Dallas mayor, Eric Johnson, said the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had taken control of the crash scene, with local police and fire providing support.

“The videos are heartbreaking,” he said on Twitter.

The planes just before impact
The planes just before impact. Photograph: Screen shot from Twitter user @GianKaizen

Wings Over Dallas bills itself as “America’s premier world war II airshow”, according to a website advertising the event. The show was scheduled for 11-13 November, Veterans Day weekend, and guests were to see more than 40 second world war-era aircraft.

Hank Coates, president of the Commemorative Air Force, later told reporters that the families of crew members involved in the disaster – as well as witnesses – would be offered support, including emotional counseling. He declined to say exactly how many people were feared dead by officials, but he said the B-17 typically carried four to five crewmembers while the P-63 had a seat only for the pilot.

“Please … if you have it in your mind, express prayers and thoughts for the crews that were involved today, for the people that saw it, for the family members,” Coates said. “Obviously, this is a very challenging time for those families.”

The FAA and the NTSB were launching investigations. Preliminary reports may come out in the coming several days, but final findings may not be issued for more than a year.

The Associated Press contributed reporting

Guardian staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Dallas zoo closes after clouded leopard escapes its enclosure
The big cat, Nova, weighs about 25lbs and zoo officials speculate is probably still on the grounds and hiding in the trees

Erum Salam

13, Jan, 2023 @9:51 PM

Article image
Dallas police department applications triple after fatal shooting of five officers
Dallas police chief David Brown invited protesters to be among hundreds of applicants who have applied since 7 July shooting: ‘Don’t be part of the problem’

Tom Dart in Houston

25, Jul, 2016 @9:48 PM

Article image
Police shoot man at Dallas Love Field airport after apparent domestic dispute
A man was shot by police outside the Texas airport on Friday after threatening a family and an officer and throwing rocks, police said

Tom Dart in Houston

10, Jun, 2016 @7:23 PM

Article image
Dallas grieves at first funerals after shooting: 'Hate has made us stronger'
Services were held on Wednesday for Brent Thompson, who served in the city’s transit system police department, Sgt Michael Smith and Sr Cpl Lorne Ahrens

Matthew Teague in Dallas

13, Jul, 2016 @5:47 PM

Article image
Dallas: murder trial to begin of ex-officer who shot black man dead in his home
Amber Guyger, 26, claims she entered Botham Jean’s apartment by mistake and acted in self-defense, in case that has inflamed racial tensions

Tom Dart in Houston

22, Sep, 2019 @6:00 AM

Article image
Dallas: calls for justice after police officer kills man in his own home
Amber Guyger, 30, accused of shooting Botham Jean dead, claiming she thought she was entering her own apartment

Tom Dart in Houston

13, Sep, 2018 @11:33 PM

Article image
Dallas police attack: gunman confirmed dead hours after opening fire on HQ
Suspect who launched early-morning attack, which included planting bombs, was shot by police sniper after fleeing in armoured van

Tom Dart in Houston

13, Jun, 2015 @7:36 PM

Article image
Dallas shooting victims: police officers identified as colleagues mourn
Tributes pour in for officers Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens and Michael Smith

Joanna Walters

08, Jul, 2016 @3:49 PM

Article image
Dallas shooting suspect stated he wanted to 'kill white officers'
Bomb making materials discovered at home of Micah Johnson, sniper who killed five police officers and injured seven others

Oliver Laughland in New York, Tom Dart and Jon Swaine in Dallas and David Smith in Washington

08, Jul, 2016 @6:18 PM

Article image
Dallas fears new threat as demonstrations roil across the US
Police scour headquarters in effort to find suspicious person as demonstrators return to streets across the nation

Jon Swaine in Dallas, Ryan Felton in Detroit and Tom Dart in Corsicana, Texas

10, Jul, 2016 @11:20 AM