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Six dead after two planes collide and crash during WWII air show in Dallas


(DALLAS) — Six people are dead following a collision that occurred at a World War II air show in Dallas, authorities said Sunday.

Two vintage aircraft collided in mid-air and crashed during the event Wings Over Dallas on Saturday, organizers said. The event featured flying demonstrations of WWII fighter planes at the Dallas Executive Airport.

“Authorities will continue working today on the investigation & identification of the deceased. Please pray for their families and all involved,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Sunday.

A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided and crashed around 1:20 p.m. local time, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Five of the victims were on the B-17, while one victim was on the P-63 when they crashed, National Transportation Safety Board member Michael Graham told reporters during a news conference on Sunday.

Investigators are using radar to pinpoint the point of collision, Graham said. They are also interviewing other pilots and looking into the training records of the pilots involved, including how they practiced the maneuvers they planned and cleared with officials, as well as the maintenance records of the aircraft, according to the NTSB.

They were no black boxes on the planes, NTSB officials said, adding that the planes are not required to have them.

The air show, timed to coincide with Veterans Day, is organized by the Commemorative Air Force, an education association focused on American military aviation.

Leah Block, a spokesperson for Commemorative Air Force, told ABC News she believes there were five crew members on the B-17 and one aboard the P-63, which is a single-seat plane. The Houston-based aircraft were not giving rides to paying customers at the time, she said.

There were no injuries to spectators or others on the ground, according to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.

The airport said there was an “incident” during the show and that Dallas Fire and Rescue were responding.

Bystanders captured a cloud of black smoke following the crash. Debris from the planes could also be seen littering a nearby highway.

The debris field includes the airport grounds, Highway 67 and a nearby strip mall, the mayor said.

Commemorative Air Force CEO and President Hank Coates said there will counseling available for first responders and attendees who witnessed the crash.

“It’s very difficult for me to talk about it because I know all these people, these are family and they’re good friends,” he told reporters.

This was the company’s seventh air show in Dallas and had anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 attendees and volunteers present at the time of the crash, organizers said.

“This is the first issue like this that we’ve ever had to deal with,” Coates said.

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the collision. The NSTB will release a preliminary report, Coates said.

“The NTSB is launching a go-team to investigate Saturday’s mid-air collision between a Boeing B-17G and a Bell P-63F near Dallas, Texas. Member Michael Graham will serve as spokesperson on scene. Team expected to arrive tomorrow,” the NTSB said Saturday in a statement.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the incident a “tragedy” and said on Twitter state agencies were assisting local officials in the response.

ABC News’ Jeffrey Cook, Amanda Maile and Nicholas Kerr contributed to this report.

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