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World War II-era bomber plane crashes at Bradley Airport in Connecticut; fatalities confirmed

Vintage plane crashes at Hartford airport
Vintage B-17 plane in fiery crash at Hartford airport 04:37

A World War II-era bomber plane crashed Wednesday morning at the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Lock, Connecticut. CBS affiliate WFSB-TV reports that fire officials confirm the Boeing B-17 Bomber, knows as "The Flying Fortress," crashed at the airport and that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have responded.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Senator Richard Blumenthal and several state officials confirmed there were fatalities in the crash. The Associated Press has confirmed that at least five people have died in the crash. 

"Right now my heart really goes out to the families," Lamont said. "Our hearts are broken for them right now. We're doing everything we can."

The state officials confirmed that there were fatalities in the crash, though they would not give a number, as victims still need to be identified. State officials confirmed there were 13 people on the aircraft — 10 passengers and three crew members. They also said one person on the ground at a maintenance facility may have been injured in the crash.

One state official said the plane took off at 9:45 a.m. from the Bradley International Airport and at 9:50 a.m. the aircraft communicated that it was experiencing "some type of problem." The aircraft circled to return to the runway before it "obviously lost control." The crash occurred at 9:54 a.m.

The FAA confirmed to CBS News that the vintage aircraft crashed at the end of Runway 6 during an attempted landing. The FAA said the aircraft is a civilian registered aircraft and was not flown by the military.

During the press conference on Wednesday, Blumenthal said, "The NTSB is launching an investigation. They will be using all of their equipment, including drones, which is what they have, to survey the site and determine a cause."

Blumenthal called the crash a "major tragedy."

The Bradley International Airport put out a statement on Twitter that said, "We can confirm that there was an accident involving a Collings Foundation World War II aircraft this morning at Bradley Airport. We have an active fire and rescue operation underway. The airport is closed. We will issue further updates as information becomes available."

A video posted on Twitter shows massive plums of black smoke billowing up from the crash site.

Airport officials told the Associated Press the plane was associated with the Collings Foundation, an educational group that brought its "Wings of Freedom" vintage aircraft display to Bradley International Airport this week. During the press conference on Wednesday, state officials confirmed the plane was operated by the Collings Foundation, which offers rides to the public.

The Collings Foundation said in a statement, "Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were on that flight and we will be forever grateful to the heroic efforts of the first responders at Bradley. The Collings Foundation flight team is fully cooperating with officials to determine the cause of the crash of the B-17 Flying Fortress and will comment further when details become known."

Several pictures posted on Twitter show a fire with black smoke rising from near the airport.

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