Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson Speaks Out About Tragic Airshow Plane Collision

by Suzanne Halliburton
Edwin Remsberg/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson offered an update Saturday to the horrifying mid-air collision at an airshow that happened in his city earlier in the afternoon.

Two vintage military planes hit each other as fans of the Wings Over Dallas Airshow watched in disbelief. Johnson posted an update to his Twitter page about three hours after the accident happened.

“As many of you have now seen, we have had a terrible tragedy in our city today during an airshow. Many details remain unknown or unconfirmed at this time. The NTSB has taken command of the crash scene with the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Fire Department continuing to provide support.

“The videos are heartbreaking. Please, say a prayer for the souls who took to the sky to entertain and educate our families today.”

Dallas officials have yet to confirm fatalities from the airshow collision. The B-17 probably had a crew of up to five people. One pilot flew the smaller plane.

The Commemorative Air Force hosted the show. An organization spokesperson said he could not release the names of who was on board until next of kin were notified. The NTSB also needed to approve the release of the information.

Here’s the main video of the Dallas airshow tragedy. The video is graphic, but it shows the smaller plane appearing to hit the larger one. Both planes broke apart and crashed. The larger plane burst into flames as it hit the ground. The Commemorative Air Force official said these pre-crash moves weren’t “dynamic.” It was the part of the show called “bombers on parade.”

Here’s what we know so far. The planes involved were a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra. The B17 was the larger plane. The two aircraft were part of the airshow at Dallas Executive Airport.

The B-17, which was developed during the 1930s, was a workhorse during World War II. It dropped more bombs than any other American aircraft. These planes, which featured four engines, featured nine machine guns and could carry a 4,000 pound bomb load. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the 36-seat plane belonged to the American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum in Dallas. The U.S. Army first took ownership of this plane in 1945.

Meanwhile, the Pell P-63 Kingcobra also was a vintage plane from World War II. The Americans didn’t use the plane that much. But when it did, the plane gave cover for ground troops.

The Commemorative Air Force puts on these shows across the country. The group’s mission is to preserve these smaller World War II planes. They have about 180 of them. A spokesman told the Dallas Morning News that the planes which crashed during the Dallas airshow had come from Houston.