WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) — At least seven people are dead after a vintage military plane crashed and caught fire at Bradley International Airport on Wednesday morning.
During a news conference Wednesday night, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that at around 9:54 a.m., a B-17 historical World War II aircraft, that was part of the Wings of Freedom tour, was in the air for about five minutes when it experienced problems and circled back to runway six where is attempted to land.
Officials said there was an issue with the instrument landing system so the plane veered to the right, crossed over a grassy area, and then crossed over the taxiway and crashed into a de-icing facility, before bursting into flames.
Jennifer Homendy, a Southington native, is leading the investigation. She said the NTSB will first focus on “perishable evidence” or physical evidence on site like pictures, videos, and audio recordings (phone calls, radioed messages to the airport).
Watch the full press conference below:
Homendy said that the preliminary findings will likely be released within 10 days.
Video courtesy of CobraHy on Twitter:
Who was on board
There were 10 passengers, two crew members, and one attendant on board the aircraft.
WEB EXTRA: Officials at Hartford Hospital discuss trauma patients from plane crash
All 13 plane passengers, as well as two maintenance workers and one first responder were taken to Bridgeport Hospital, Hartford Hospital, and St. Francis Hospital.
On October 8th, Bridgeport Hospital reported that three of their patients from the plane crash were in fair condition and are being treated in the burn center.
“We ask that you keep the families in your thoughts,” Simsbury Volunteer Fire Company said in a statement.
It was also learned that a member of the Connecticut Air National Guard was one of the passengers on board and suffered an injury before being transported to Hartford Hospital.
The National Guard said that they have deployed assets to assist in the response, including fire and emergency medical services, mobile emergency operations center, and two buses that served as cooling stations for the responders.
Life Star responded to the scene after the crash to fly one patient to Hartford Hospital.
Hartford Hospital said that they received six patients in total from the crash but two were then sent to the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital.
WEB EXTRA: Governor Lamont and airport officials give update on plane crash
Of the victims taken to Bridgeport Hospital, staff said one is in serious condition, two are in “fair condition.” Each victim is said to have burns and multiple fractures.
The FBI, FAA, Homeland Security, Connecticut State Police, and the NTSB all responded to scene to investigate. The NTSB will also investigate the black box recorder.
The NTSB arrived with a team of at least eight and used a drone to survey the crash site.
WEB EXTRA: 911 Call from the cockpit to Air Traffic Control
Officials said that the tower was advised that there was an issue with the aircraft and that the plane attempted to circle around.
WEB EXTRA: Aerial view of plane crash at Bradley Airport
News 8 spoke with a construction worker at Bradley Airport who saw the scene unfold. He said the military plane was taking off and didn’t have enough power. The plane tried to land, but hit the ground, impacting the fuel farm/fuel tank.
The historical plane had arrived at Bradley Airport on Tuesday and was to be there until Thursday. It was open to the public, who could pay for rides as donations to the foundation.
Bradley Airport was closed for a while but reopened one runway at 1:30 p.m. The runway where the crash occurred will remain closed until the investigation is complete.
ABC News has obtained a statement from the FAA that reads:
“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. We will update this statement when we get new information.”Federal Aviation Administration
The Collings Foundation, who is part of the Wings of Freedom Tour, also released the following statement on 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.Collings Foundation
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. ”
Governor Ned Lamont tweeted about the incident, writing in part that it’s “such an unfortunate situation with an historic aircraft. Our prayers are with everyone who was on board.”
Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center released this statement on the plane crash:
“We received a mass casualty alert following the plane crash that took place near Bradley International Airport this morning. As a Level 1 Trauma Center, Saint Francis Hospital department has deployed all the necessary preparations in order to be ready to receive any number of patients.”Dr. Steven Wolf, Emergency Department Chair, Saint Francis Hospital
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) also released a statement:
“Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the victims. They and the public deserve to know the facts and causes of this tragic crash. I am calling for an immediate National Transportation Safety Board investigation so we can get to the bottom of what happened and prevent future tragedies. The NTSB should be on the scene as soon as possible, with assistance from other agencies like the FAA.”
Maj. Gen. Francis Evon, The Adjutant General of the Connecticut National Guard, released this statement:
“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.”
Thursday afternoon, CT State Police announced the names of those involved in the crash.
In a statement Thursday, the Connecticut Airport Authority said: “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and families affected by yesterday’s tragedy. The unfortunate accident has left the entire Bradley International Airport deeply saddened.”
CAA also recognized the efforts of the first-responders who were involved in the rescue.
If you’re at Bradley Airport, News 8 would love to speak with you or share any photos/videos. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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