Official opens probe into WWII planes crash at Dallas air show

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A national transportation official probing the cause of a midair crash of two historic military planes during an air show that left six people dead said Sunday one of the key questions investigators were seeking to answer is why the aircraft were seemingly sharing the same space just before impact.

A World War II-era bomber and a fighter plane collided and crashed to the ground in a ball of flames on Saturday, leaving crumpled wreckage in a grassy area inside the Dallas Executive Airport perimeter, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the city’s downtown.

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Several videos posted on social media showed the fighter plane flying into the bomber.

“One of the things we would probably most likely be trying to determine is why those aircraft were co-altitude in the same air space at the same time,” Michael Graham, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference Sunday.

The crash came three years after the crash of a bomber in Connecticut that killed seven, and amid ongoing concern about the safety of air shows involving older warplanes.

The company that owned the planes flying in the Wings Over Dallas show has had other crashes in its more than 60-year history.

The crash claimed six lives, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted Sunday, citing the county medical examiner.

Authorities are continuing to work to identify the victims, he said.

Dallas Fire-Rescue said there were no reports of injuries on the ground.

The Wings Over Dallas air show was scheduled to run from Friday to Sunday at Dallas Executive Airport.

It was canceled after Saturday's collision.

The event described itself as North Texas’ largest World War II air show. Thousands were watching from the airfield and nearby businesses Saturday, including World War II and American military history buffs who were drawn to the show because only a small amount of aircraft from the war remain airborne today.

The flight demonstration portion of the show began about 11 a.m. local time Saturday, according to a schedule posted on the air show’s website. One listed event was described as a parade of several types of bombers, including the B-17.

The next item listed on the schedule was a fighter escort involving a P-63. It's unclear from the schedule whether both events were to take place at the same time.

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was a workhorse bomber that saw combat in both theaters of the Second World War.

P-63s were developed during World War II, but never saw combat, according to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Read more:

Two WWII-era planes collide at Dallas air show: US aviation agency

Six dead in mid-air collision at Texas WWII show: Authorities

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