CNN — A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided and crashed at the Wings Over Dallas air show around 1:20 p.m. Saturday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Authorities responded to the incident at Dallas Executive Airport, Dallas Fire Department’s Jason Evans told CNN on Saturday. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the number of casualties in the crash was yet to be confirmed on Saturday afternoon. However, the Allied Pilots Association, a trade union representing American Airlines pilots, has identified two retired pilots and two former union members who died in the crash. The APA revealed in a tweet that former members Terry Barker and Len Root were among the crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress during the Wings Over Dallas air show. APA also provides professional counseling services from its headquarters in Fort Worth after the incident. In their tweet, “Our hearts turn to our families, friends and colleagues, past and present. The Fire Department’s Active Incidents page shows that there were more than 40 fire brigades at the scene after the accident. At a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Memorial Air Force President and CEO Hank Coates told reporters that the B-17 “usually has four or five crew members. That’s what was in the aircraft.” The P-63 is a “single-controlled fighter-type aircraft.” “Usually you could say the crew was on board,” Coates said. “I cannot disclose the number of people in the manifest or their names in the manifest until they are released by the NTSB.” The Memorial Air Force confirmed that both aircraft were out of Houston. The group said in a statement that it was “working with local authorities and the FAA”, adding that “there is no information on the condition of the crew as emergency services are currently handling the accident.” The FAA is currently leading the investigation and will be handed over to the NTSB around 9pm when the NTSB team arrives at the scene, Coates said. On Saturday evening, the NTSB said it would form a high-team to investigate the crash. NTSB said in a tweet that the team is due to arrive on Sunday. “Member Michael Graham will act as spokesperson on stage,” the tweet added. “They’re working [the aircraft] It wasn’t dynamic at all,” Coates said. “It was what we called ‘Bombers on Parade’.” Johnson tweeted late Saturday that the Dallas Executive Airport site, Interstate 67 and a nearby strip mall contained rubble from the crash, but no spectators or others on the ground were reported injured. According to the organizers website, the event, which was scheduled to be held until Sunday, has been canceled. Prime Minister Johnson tweeted shortly after the accident: “As many of you have seen, we had a terrible tragedy in our city during today’s air show. Many details are currently unknown or remain unconfirmed.” “The videos are heartbreaking. In a separate tweet, Prime Minister Johnson said, “Pray for the souls who have taken to heaven today to entertain and educate our families.” The Dallas Police Department said the southbound and northbound lanes of the highway were closed after the accident. “This is not about aircraft. No,” Coates said at a press conference. “I can say that it is a great aircraft and it is safe. Very well maintained. The pilots are very well trained. It’s hard to talk about it because I know all of these people are family and good friends.” According to Coates, the individuals piloting the aircraft at the CAF airshow are volunteers and undergo rigorous training. Many of them are airline pilots, retired airline pilots or retired military pilots, Coates said. The B-17 was part of a commemorative Air Force collectible nicknamed “Texas Raiders” and hung on a Texas Conroe near Houston. It was one of only 45 or so fully surviving examples of the model, of which only 9 were able to fly. The P-63 was much rarer. About 14 examples are known to have survived, four of which were suitable for flight in the United States, one in the possession of the Memorial Air Force. More than 12,000 B-17s were produced by Boeing, Douglas Aircraft and Lockheed between 1936 and 1945, nearly 5,000 were lost during the war, most of the rest were scrapped in the early 1960s. About 3,300 P-63s were produced by Bell Aircraft between 1943 and 1945 and were used primarily by the Soviet Air Force during World War II.
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