By Peter Szekely
(Reuters) – A World War Two-era B-17 bomber trying to make an emergency landing at an airport near Hartford, Connecticut, crashed and burned on Wednesday, killing seven people and closing the airport for several hours, authorities said.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress returned to Bradley International Airport within 10 minutes of takeoff after reporting “some type of problem,” but lost control on the runway
and struck a maintenance facility and tanks of de-icing fluid, Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon told reporters.
Seven people died in the crash and six others were hospitalized with injuries ranging from minor to critical, James Rovella, commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, told a news conference.
The plane had 13 people on board, and some of those people were among those killed, Rovella said.
Rescue crews from numerous emergency response agencies raced to the fiery scene where a plume of thick, black smoke billowed skyward after the crash at the end of the runway shortly before 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).
The airport, located in the town of Windsor Locks, was closed for about 3-1/2 hours after the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating the crash.
(Reporting by Peter Szekely and Maria Caspani in New York, Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)