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Investigation underway over midair crash at Dallas air show

Dallas Air Show Crash
Posted at 4:48 AM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 13:06:35-05

Officials have released the names of the six people killed in a deadly collision between two vintage military aircraft at a Dallas air show.

The Commemorative Air Force, which put on the show, on Monday identified the victims as: Terry Barker, Craig Hutain, Kevin “K5” Michels, Dan Ragan, Leonard “Len” Root, and Curt Rowe.

They died Saturday when a World War II-era bomber and a fighter plane collided and crashed in a ball of flames, horrifying spectators who had gathered for the air show, which opened on Veterans' Day.

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

Armin Mizani, the mayor of Keller, Texas, said Barker was a retired pilot who lived in Keller, a town of 50,000, where many of the residents know each other.

“It’s definitely a big loss in our community,” he said. “We’re grieving.”

Barker was an Army veteran who flew helicopters during his military service. He later worked for American Airlines for 36 years before retiring in 2020, Mizani said.

Rowe, a member of the Ohio Wing Civil Air Patrol, was a crew chief on the B-17, his brother-in-law Andy Keller told The Associated Press on Sunday. Rowe, of Hilliard, Ohio, did air shows several times a year because he fell in love with WWII aircraft, Keller said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the collision, including why both aircraft were flying at the same altitude and in the same air space, NTSB member Michael Graham said at a Sunday news conference.

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.

Investigators will examine the wreckage from both aircraft, conduct interviews of crews present at the air show and obtain pilot training and aircraft maintenance records.

“We’ll look at everything that we can and we’ll let the evidence basically lead us to the appropriate conclusions. At this point, we will not speculate” on the cause, Graham said.

A preliminary report from the NTSB is expected in four to six weeks, while a final report will take up to 18 months to complete.

The B-17, a cornerstone of U.S. air power during World War II, is an immense four-engine bomber that was used in daylight raids against Germany. 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.