Reno air show crash death toll rises to 11
RENO, Nev. - A 47-year-old Washington man who loved airplanes has been identified as among the 11 people killed in a Reno air show crash.
Darlene McMichael told The Associated Press Tuesday that her son James McMichael of Graham died from injuries after a fighter plane dived into a crowd of fans midway through a race.
Stunt pilot James Leeward also died in the Friday afternoon plane crash. He was 74 years old and was flying a WWII-era fighter plane.
Darlene McMichael says her son is survived by his wife and an extensive family.
Reno police announced Tuesday that the death toll had grown to 11 people. At least two of the victims have not been identified. Emergency officials are trying to compile a list of missing persons.
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Among the other victims were a wheelchair-bound businessman who loved to travel, a former airline pilot who owned a vintage airplane and a construction worker attending his first race. Most of the victims were there for leisure, but Sharon Stewart, 47, died while trying to make a few extra bucks.
"She was so happy she was going to make some extra money, we were going to pay the rent and save some money to go see the kids,'' said Jose Cacheux-Ojeda, 59, the father of her children and her longtime boyfriend.
Stewart needed money to visit her four sons in California so she took a minimum-wage job picking up trash at the National Championship Air Races in Reno. She was almost done with her 11-hour shift when a WWII-era fighter plane veered off course and crashed into the VIP seating section.
Her friend found her dead body on the tarmac moments later, covered by a sheet of tarp.
More than 70 people have been treated for injuries, some of them life threatening. The dramatic injury toll was stoking fears across the nation, as relatives and friends flooded Reno officials with inquiries about the whereabouts of spectators.
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