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Seven killed in crash of vintage World War II-era plane

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Oct. 2 (UPI) — A restored World War II-era bomber crashed and burned at a Connecticut airport Wednesday, killing at least five people on board.

The Boeing B-17 bomber, known as the “Flying Fortress” during the war, crashed soon after its 9:45 a.m. takeoff at Bradley International Airport, near Hartford. The plane radioed that it was having difficulties and crashed at 9:54 a.m. as it attempted to return to the airport.

“We did observe that the aircraft was not gaining altitude,” said Kevin Dillon, Connecticut Airport Authority executive director, in a media conference Wednesday.

Thirteen people, including two pilots, 10 passengers and an attendant, were aboard the plane.

State Police Commissioner James Rovella said during an evening news conference that the families have been notified except for those of three of the victims.

Hartford Hospital received six patients from the crash and listed three in critical condition, two in moderate condition and one with minor injuries. One person on the ground was injured as the plane slid off the runway and struck a building. The airport, New England’s second-largest, was closed for a time after the crash. One runway has since reopened.

Gov. Ned Lamont said the hearts of all Connecticut citizens are “broken” for the families of the victims.

“We’re doing everything we can — We’ve got an amazing group of people who are going to get to the bottom of this as soon as we can,” he said. “And, you’re in our prayers.”

The plane is owned by the Collings Foundation, which brought five of its restored planes to a World War II-era air show this week at the airport, which confirmed the crash on Twitter. The B-17 involved in the crash, built in 1944, is one of 18 remaining and registered to fly in the United States. It was consumed by the fire.

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