World War II-era bomber plane crashes in Connecticut, killing 7

7 killed in WWII-era plane crash

Last Updated Oct 2, 2019 7:42 PM EDT

Windsor Locks, Connecticut — Seven people were killed when a World War II-era bomber crash-landed in Connecticut on Wednesday, authorities said. The plane was operated by an education group that takes history buffs and aircraft enthusiasts on short trips.

The B-17 burst into flames after crash-landing at Hartford's Bradley International Airport. James Revella, commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, announced the number of fatalities at a news conference Wednesday evening. 

Angela Fletcher saw the plane moments before the crash.

"I heard what sounded like a freight train coming down the street so I looked out the window and kind of waited for it and all of a sudden I saw this plane go over the house, real low," she said. "I heard the engine go, 'pop, pop,' you could tell there was engine failure."
 
The trouble started about five minutes into the flight. Among the 13 onboard were two pilots who radioed the tower about a problem. While trying to make an emergency landing, the plane hit the airport's de-icing building and maintenance facility. 

One person was inside the building. At least seven survivors were taken to hospitals, including three in critical condition.
 
The 75-year-old restored bomber was one of 18 B-17s left in the U.S. It was on a nationwide tour and the 10 passengers on Wednesday paid up to $450 for a 30-minute flight that ended in tragedy. 
 
"These are husbands and wives and brothers and sisters and children and all part of our Connecticut family. And we feel our hearts are broken for you right now," said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.

A team with the National Transportation Safety Board has been to the crash site. They will try to piece together what happened.

  • Kris Van Cleave

    Kris Van Cleave is the transportation correspondent for CBS News.