Officials at Bradley International Airport have confirmed that a World War II vintage bomber crashed on its premises on Wednesday morning, tweeting that the accident prompted the airport's closure, and that a rescue operation was underway.
We can confirm that there was an accident involving a Collings Foundation World War II aircraft this morning at Bradley Airport. We have an active fire and rescue operation underway. The airport is closed. We will issue further updates as information becomes available.— Bradley Intl Airport (@Bradley_Airport) 2 октября 2019 г.
Local media reported that at least two people were killed and more seriously injured in the accident, with the plane said to have had as many as 13 onboard at the time of the crash. At least one victim was reportedly airlifted from the scene by an air ambulance helicopter.
Enthusiasts have posted photos and videos believed to have been taken at the scene, showing a large plume of smoke rising into the atmosphere at the crash site.
PLANE CRASH— Tom Podolec Aviation (@TomPodolec) 2 октября 2019 г.
A World War II era aircraft belonging to Collings Foundation has crashed at Bradley Airport in Windsor Locks, CT. Airport tweeted, “We have an active fire and rescue operation underway. The airport is closed.” pic.twitter.com/sADqMpiScB
Sources told the Hartford Courant newspaper that the B-17 crashed into a shed as it attempted a landing.
The plane was thought to belong to the Collings Foundation, a Hudson, Massachusetts-based non-profit educational entity dedicated to the preservation and display of vehicles and aircraft.
Firefighters from several local fire departments were called to the scene to extinguish the blaze.
A Federal Aviation Administration official later confirmed to CBS News that the plane was a civilian registered aircraft, and that the plane has not been flown by the military in quite some time.
The Bradley International Airport has been hosting a show of World War II-era planes this week, with vintage planes arriving at the airport for a special event meant to honour WWII vets. Five vintage planes, including a P-40 Warhawk, a B-25 Liberator, a B-25 bomber, a P-51 Mustang fighter and the above-mentioned B-17, had been participating in the event.
The B-17 is one of the most mass produced bomber aircraft in history, with over 12,700 units built in the years before World War II and during the war. The US Air Force used the bomber extensively for its massive bombing raids against German and Japanese cities, with over 640,000 tonnes of the 1.5 million tonnes of bombs dropped on Germany and occupied territories during the war dropped by B-17s.