WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WWLP) – Seven people were killed and six others were taken to the hospital with injuries after a WWII B-17 plane crashed at Bradley International Airport Wednesday morning.
The National Transportation Safety Board and Bradley Airport officials confirmed the number of deaths at a news conference early Wednesday evening. There were 13 people on board the WWII B-17 bomber when it crashed at 9:54 a.m., including two pilots, one flight attendant, and 10 passengers.
One person on the ground was also injured when the plane crashed into a station used to store the airport’s de-icing equipment. The six people who were taken to the hospital suffered minor to critical injuries. No children were on board the plane when it crashed.
Two of the passengers on board the B-17 have been partially identified as firefighters from the Simsbury Department in Connecticut. Emergency Services Commissioner James Rovella said no names will be released until all family members of the victims have been notified.
The U.S. Air Force confirmed with 22News that a member of the Connecticut Air National Guard was one of the passengers onboard the B-17 plane Wednesday morning. Captain Jennifer Pierce told 22News that member suffered injuries and was taken to Hartford Hospital.
Capt. Pierce said the Connecticut National Guard sent members to assist Bradley Airport with mutual aid including fire and emergency medical services, mobile emergency operations center and two buses that served as cooling stations for responders.
“We’re closely monitoring the situation as the investigation proceeds. We commend the swift actions of our Guardsmen in supporting the mutual aid response and are grateful for the well-being of our member on the flight. Our hearts are with all of those affected by the tragic accident that took place today.”Maj. Gen. Francis Evon, Adjutant General of the Connecticut National Guard
In an early Wednesday afternoon news conference, Hartford Hospital officials said three of the six victims were listed in critical condition and three others had non-life threatening injuries. Two of those victims have burn injuries that required them to be taken to the burn center in Bridgeport. Five of the patients were brought in by ambulance and one was flown in by Life Star.
According to NTSB Board member Jennifer Homendy, a preliminary investigation revealed that the B-17 plane (#N93012), property of the Collins Foundation located in Stow Massachusetts, left the airport at 9:54 a.m. and experienced elevation problems within five minutes after being in the air.
The historic plane had circled back to the airport, attempting to land on runway six when an issue with the landing system caused the plane to veer right onto a grassy area before crashing into the facility used to store de-icing equipment and bursting into flames.
Homendy said the plane made contact with officials at the airport tower about the issue before it attempted to make the landing. She said the NTSB is looking into that call.
Bradley International Airport temporarily shut down after the crash. By 1:30 p.m., the airport reopened with one runway operating. Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillion said 20 percent of activities at Bradley Airport were canceled and 10 percent was delayed when the airport reopened.
AGENCIES ASSISTING / INVESTIGATING:
Multiple agencies including troopers from the Connecticut State Police, FBI, Medical Examiner’s Office, Homeland Security, NTSB, and FAA are all working to determine what caused the deadly plane crash. Members of the Red Cross are also assisting.
The Salvation Army of Springfield sent a mobile disaster relief canteen to support the Command Post at the airport.
The canteen provided meals, hydration, and other basic support to first responders. A disaster chaplain was also dispatched to provide emotional and spiritual care amid the deadly crash.
EDS canteens from New London and Pittsfield are on standby for any longer-term needs. WATCH FULL NEWS CONFERENCE BELOW:
HEALTH ADVISORY ISSUED
The Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Town of Windsor are alerting the public to a potential discharge of firefighting foam into the Farmington River in Windsor originating from the Bradley International Airport emergency incident on October 2, 2019.
The public is advised not to come into contact with foam they may encounter on the Farmington River or the river banks, as well as to not take fish from the river.
Additionally, the public is advised to not come into contact with any foam which may come from storm drains, manholes or catch basins.
This advisory will remain in place while officials evaluate the potential impact to the watershed.
Town officials are working closely with DPH and will continue to provide updates to this site as they become available.Town of Windsor, Connecticut
The historic B-17 World War II aircraft as part of the Wings of Freedom tour.
There will be another news conference around 4:00 p.m. with State Police at the CTDOT garage on route 20.
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The Collings Foundation has provided the following statement regarding the crash:
“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.”-Collings Foundation
22News obtained the following statement from the Federal Aviation Administration:
“A vintage Boeing B-17 crashed at the end of Runway 6 while attempting to land at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., at 10 a.m. It is a civilian registered aircraft, not flown by the military. Local officials will release information about the people aboard. Officials have closed Bradley International Airport, and the FAA has put in a ground stop for flights that are destined for the airport.”FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
“I was there yesterday afternoon with my husband. We loved touring the planes and meeting people who were into vintage aircraft. I met a man who’s uncle flew this plane in WWII. He was the lone survivor after being shot down and survived alone in the ocean for five days.-Sent to 22News via Reportit from Crystal Begleiter
I wanted to surprise my husband for our 29th wedding anniversary with a ride in this plane. We missed yesterday’s take off and the next one was this morning. He decided he liked the thought of the gift but decided not to go. That was a close one for us. We’re praying for everyone on board.”
860-685-8190 is the number to call if you need to find a family member involved in the plane crash.
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