World War II era plane crashes in Connecticut, US, killing at least seven

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

The aircraft involved in the crash, in Mountain View, California, 2011.
Image: Chris Finney.

At least seven people were killed in the United States yesterday, when a World War II-era bomber crashed at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. The plane crashed near the end of a runway at 9:54 a.m. ET (1354 UTC) during an attempted landing, and struck a deicing facility at the airport, according to officials. The pilot was trying to land the plane about five minutes after takeoff. Fourteen people were injured in the crash, including all on board the plane, and one airport worker on the ground, according to Commissioner James Rovella of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

According to Windsor Locks' first selectman, Chris Kervick, there were ten passengers and three crew members aboard the aircraft. Crash victims were transported by ambulance and by air to hospitals in the area, including Hartford Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital, and Saint Francis Hospital.

Dr. Steven Wolf at Saint Francis said, "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."

Bradley Airport was shut down after the incident and reopened later that day at 2 p.m. ET (1800 UTC). The airport is the second-largest airport in the New England region of northeastern United States.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said at a press conference after the incident, "My heart really goes out to the families and we're going to give them the best information we can, as soon as we can, in an honest way [...] We're doing everything we can, and we've got an amazing group of people who are going to get to the bottom of this as soon as we can. You're in our prayers."

The aircraft, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, is registered in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and was manufactured in 1944 according to Federal Aviation Administration records. According to a 1989 report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the same aircraft was involved in an incident in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania on August 23, 1987. The report said there was one passenger seriously injured, and two more with minor injuries; no crew were injured.

According to Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, the involved airplane is one of eighteen B-17s still in the United States. Blumenthal said the NTSB would begin an investigation at Bradley Airport, led by Board Member Jennifer Homendy.