WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — A World War II-era B-17 bomber carrying 13 people crashed and burned in Connecticut after an aborted takeoff attempt Wednesday, had previously crashed in Beaver County, Pennsylvania in the 1987.
In the 1987 incident, the bomber overshot a Pennsylvania runway while attempting to land at Beaver County Airport in gusty winds and plunged down a hillside as thousands of spectators were waiting for the show’s finale.
The Federal Aviation Administration said three people were injured in the crash. The FAA said the plane’s airspeed was excessive and cited pilot errors.
The foundation says damage to the plane was repaired, and it went on make more than 1,200 tour stop.
The plane was named the “Nine-O-Nine” in honor of another B-17 of the same name that successfully completed 140 missions during World War II.
Wednesday, the four-engine, propeller-driven plane struggled to get into the air and slammed into a maintenance shed at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut as the pilots circled back for a landing, officials and witnesses said.
It had 10 passengers and three crew members, authorities said, although it's not clear how many if any survived.
“The victims are very difficult to identify,” Rovella said. “We don’t want to make a mistake.”
At least six people were taken to the hospital; their condition was not immediately disclosed.
The retired, civilian-registered plane was associated with the Collings Foundation, an educational group that brought its Wings of Freedom vintage aircraft display to the airport this week, officials said.
Only a few of the roaring Boeing B-17s are still airworthy. They were critical in breaking Nazi Germany's industrial war machine during World War II.
This specific B-17 was built in 1945, too late for combat in World War II, according to the foundation.
It served in a rescue squadron and a military air transport service before being subjected to the effects of three nuclear explosions during testing, the foundation said. It was later sold as scrap and eventually was restored. The foundation bought it in 1986.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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