A B-17 was involved in the crash, and the other aircraft type was uncertain.
DALLAS — Editor’s note: The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Two historic military planes collided and crashed to the ground Saturday during a Dallas air show, federal officials said, sending plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.
It was unclear how many people were on board the aircraft or if anyone on the ground was hurt, federal officials said.
“Currently we do not have information on the status of the flight crews as emergency responders are working the accident,” Leah Block, a spokesperson for Commemorative Air Force, told ABC News.
Block also told ABC News she believes there were five crew members on the B-17 and one aboard the P-63. The Houston-based aircraft were not giving rides to paying customers at the time, she said.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided and crashed around 1:20 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement. The collision occurred during the Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Dallas show.
The B-17, an immense four-engine bomber, was a cornerstone of U.S. air power during World War II. The Kingcobra, a U.S. fighter plane, was used mostly by Soviet forces during the war. Most B-17s were scrapped at the end of World War II and only a handful remain today, largely featured at museums and air shows, according to Boeing.
Debris from the crash fell onto southbound Highway 67, sources told WFAA’s Jason Whitely. Both southbound and northbound lanes of Hwy. 67 were shut down due to the crash, according to Dallas police.
Several videos posted on Twitter showed two aircraft appearing to collide in the air before they both rapidly descended, causing a large fire and plumes of black smoke to billow into the sky.
Marvella Garcia, who was working with the show as a brand ambassador for Chevrolet, said she was speaking with someone conducting a survey when the crash happened, and the person she was speaking with said “wow, look at that explosion.”
“I looked over and I said ‘oh that’s just part of the show,’” Garcia said. “There’s a show within the show. The planes will cross over and then there’s little explosions.”
Garcia said she soon realized it was not part of the show. She said she has worked for several shows like this where it is normal to see re-enactments involving planes and explosions.
“Some people just thought it was a re-enactment,” Garcia said about the crowd’s reaction to the crash. “Whenever that happened, everyone was just kind of in shock like, is this really happening or is this just a re-enactment?”
Air show safety – particularly with older military aircraft – has been a concern for years. In 2011, 11 people were killed in Reno, Nevada, when a P-51 Mustang crashed into spectators. In 2019, a bomber crashed in Hartford, Connecticut, killing seven people. The NTSB said then that it had investigated 21 accidents since 1982 involving World War II-era bombers, resulting in 23 deaths.
Wings Over Dallas bills itself as “America’s Premier World War II Airshow,” according to a website advertising the event. The show was scheduled for Nov. 11-13, Veterans Day weekend, and guests were to see more than 40 World War II-era aircrafts.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted the following statement on Saturday:
“As many of you have now seen, we have had a terrible tragedy in our city today during an airshow. Many details remain unknown or unconfirmed at this time. The @NTSB has taken command of the crash scene with @DallasPD and @DallasFireRes_q continuing to provide support.”
Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation Chairman and former Republican State Rep. Jason Villalba said he was at the air show today.
“We left at 12:00 but George and I had planned to take a ride on the B-17,” Villalba told WFAA. “We didn’t because it was sold out. Wow.“
WFAA has not confirmed whether there were civilians riding on the B-17 when it crashed. Tickets for on-board tours of the B-17 were on sale online for the event. The cost for tickets was $495 each.
The FAA released the following statement to WFAA:
A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided and crashed at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow at Dallas Executive Airport in Texas around 1:20 p.m. local time Saturday. At this time, it is unknown how many people were on both aircraft. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.
The Commemorative Air Force/Wings Over Dallas sent WFAA this statement:
“This afternoon, two aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision at Dallas Executive Airport. The aircraft were a B-17 and P-63 Kingcobra, both out of Houston. Currently we do not have information on the status of the flight crews as emergency responders are working the accident.The Commemorative Air Force is working with local authorities and the FAA, and the NTSB will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident. Any available information will be posted to www.commemorativeairforce.org“
This is a developing story. Check back for updates. The Associated Press contributed to this story.