Seven people killed as Second World War B-17 bomber crashes shortly after takeoff

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Emergency crews respond to where the World War II-era bomber B-17 plane crashed at Bradley International Airport (AP)

Second World War-era B-17 bomber that crashed after encountering mechanical trouble on takeoff has resulted in the deaths of seven people.

The four-engine, propeller-driven plane struggled to get into the air and crashed into a maintenance shed at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut as the pilots circled back for a landing, according to officials and witnesses.

It was carrying 10 passengers and three crew members, authorities said.

Connecticut Public Safety Commissioner James Rovella said that some of those on board were burned and "the victims are very difficult to identify”.

He also warned that the death toll could rise.

The four-engine, propeller-driven plane struggled to get into the air and crashed into a maintenance shed (AP)
Some of the survivors of the crash were critically injured, while one person on the ground was also hurt (AP)

Some of the survivors of the crash were critically injured, while one person on the ground was also hurt.

Authorities said a firefighter involved in the response suffered a minor injury.

Mr Rovella said some lives were likely saved by the efforts of people including a person who raced to help the victims and people on the plane who helped others to escape the fire by opening a hatch.

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"You're going to hear about some heroic efforts from some of the individuals that were in and around that plane," he said.

The retired, civilian-registered plane was associated with the Collings Foundation, an educational group that brought its Wings of Freedom vintage aircraft display to the airport this week, officials said.

Reacting to the crash, Governor Ned Lamont said: ”Right now my heart really goes out to the families who are waiting. And we are going to give them the best information we can as soon as we can in an honest way.”

The same plane crashed at the Beaver County Airport in 1987 (AP)

The plane was a few minutes into the flight when pilots reported a problem and said it was not gaining altitude. It lost control upon touching down and struck the shed.

Only a few of the roaring Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses are still airworthy.

The Collings Foundation said that the same plane in Wednesday's accident also crashed in 1987 at an air show near Pittsburgh, when it was hit by a severe crosswind as it touched down.

File photo of a Collings Foundation B-17 Flying Fortress landing at McClellan Airport in Sacramento, California (AP)

The bomber overshot a runway and plunged down a hillside, injuring several people.

The B-17 was built in 1945, too late for combat in World War Two, according to the foundation.

It served in a rescue squadron and a military air transport service before being subjected to the effects of three nuclear explosions during testing, the foundation said.

It was later sold as scrap and eventually was restored. The foundation bought it in 1986.

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