A vintage World War II-era fighter plane of the National Championship Air Races at the Reno-Stead Airport was lost control and crashed into a seating area, leaving at least 3 dead, and over 50 injured on Friday, 16 September 2011.
After this rare accident, a mix of blood, body parts and smoking debris could be seen across the crash site.
According local officials, the death toll would rise because many victims suffered life-threatening injuries.
Reno Air Races president Mike Houghton confirmed that pilot Jimmy Leeward, 74, was among the dead. He was an experienced racing pilot and owner of Leeward Air Ranch Racing Team. Leeward had flown more than 120 races.
Leeward’s plane was a vintage P-51 Mustang called Galloping Ghost
Spokesman for the Reno National Championship Air Races, Mike Draper, described the accident as “a mass-casualty situation”. Leeward’s family said in a message on Facebook, “Dear friends, we are deeply saddened by the tragedy at the air race today. Please join us in praying at this time for all the families affected.”
Medics help injured bystanders out of a helicopter into Renown Medical Center
Spokeswoman for the Regional Emergency Medical Service Authority, Stephanie Kruse, told that emergency crews took a total of 56 injuried victims to three hospitals, not included a number of people being transported by private vehicle.
Rescuers and medical staff gather at the crash scene to help the victims
Witness Maureen Higgins of Alabama, who was sitting about 30 yards away from the crash, said Jimmy Leeward was on his third lap when he lost control of the P-51 Mustang. The man in front of her was hit on his head by a piece of debris.
“It’s just like a massacre. It’s like a bomb went off.” Dr. Gerald Lent of Reno, who witnessed the crash, said
“The plane vaulted violently upward, followed by a dive straight into the front of the reserve grandstands.” a witness told
The National Air Championship Air Races annually attract thousands of people in September to watch various military and civilian planes race
Plane Crash at Reno Air Show 2011
Mary Rose is currently a lecturer on society. In her free time, Mary is fond of joining social activities. Her goal is to provide up-to-date news and articles on society and culture.