In this photo provided by Antonio Arreguin, smoke fills the sky after a World War II-era bomber plane crashed, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 outside Bradley International Airport north of Hartford, Conn. A spokesman for Gov. Ned Lamont confirmed the crash of the B-17 plane. (Antonio Arreguin via AP)

World War II-era bomber trying to land crashes in fireball

October 02, 2019 - 9:01 am

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (AP) — A World War II-era bomber plane crashed in a fireball as it tried to land Wednesday at New England’s second-busiest airport, injuring at least six people aboard, officials said.

Thick, black smoke rose from the airport as emergency crews responded to the crash of the B-17 bomber at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, just north of Hartford. It wasn’t clear how many people were on board.

Six people on board were taken to Hartford Hospital, said hospital spokesman Shawn Mawhiney. He did not yet have information on their condition.

The B-17 had been trying to land when it crashed around 10 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said on Twitter. It was civilian-registered and not flown by the military, the FAA said.

The New England Air Museum is near the airport. The plane was associated with the Collings Foundation, an educational group that brought its “Wings of Freedom” vintage aircraft display to Bradley International this week, airport officials said.

Flights in and out of Bradley International were suspended after the crash, and the airport was closed.

Antonio Arreguin said he had parked at a construction site near the airport for breakfast when he heard an explosion. He said he did not see the plane but could feel the heat from the fire, which was about 250 yards away.

“In front of me, I see this big ball of orange fire, and I knew something happened,” he said. “The ball of fire was very big.”

A smaller explosion followed about a minute after the first blast, he said. He saw emergency crews scrambling within seconds.

The fire and smoke were out within about an hour.

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Collins reported from Hartford.