Aviation News

September 17, 2011

Reno Air Race Crash Toll Revised to 9 Deaths and 69 Injuries

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Police on Saturday said a total of nine people were killed on Friday when a World War II aircraft crashed during the Reno Air Races at Reno-Stead Airport in Nevada. Sixty-nine others have been injured.

Jimmy Leeward The Galloping Ghost at the 2010 Reno Air Races

Jimmy Leeward's The Galloping Ghost at the 2010 Reno Air Races. (Photo by photobunny, CC by-nc-nd via flickr)

The accident happened at around 4:30 pm local time on Friday when a P-51D Mustang known as The Galloping Ghost, being flown by 74-year-old Jimmy Leeward from Florida, crashed into a box seat area in front of the main grandstand after a steep nose-dive.

Reno Deputy Police Chief Dave Evans said seven people were killed at the scene of the accident while two other victims later died at Renown Regional Medical Center which had been staffed to capacity in preparation of the annual air show.

In addition to the nine fatalities, several nearby hospitals reported a total of 69 injured, some of whom were already released on early Saturday morning. Around a dozen remain in a critical condition.

Renown Regional Medical Center said it received a total of 30 patients, including a male and female who were pronounced dead. Six others remain in a critical condition at Renown Regional Medical Center, while two people are in a serious condition, five in fair condition, and one in good condition. Fourteen others were discharged by Saturday morning.

Dan Davis, a spokesman for Renown Regional Medical Center, said Renown South Meadows Medical Center also received five patients who were in a fair condition and were discharged on Saturday morning.

Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center and its affiliated medical facilities received a total of 28 patients, of whom 12 were treated and released within hours of the accident. Two people remained in a critical condition on Saturday while seven are in serious condition and five are in fair condition.

“Given the nature of the accident, Saint Mary’s is treating injuries due to both blunt force and penetrating trauma,” said Jamii Uboldi, a spokesperson for the medical center. “Common injuries being treated at the hospital include fractures of the legs, arms, ribs and fingers, head injuries, amputations, abrasions, lacerations, and chemical burns.”

At Northern Nevada Medical Center, a spokesman said the hospital received a total of eight patients from the plane crash. He said six of those injured were in serious condition, while two others were in good condition.

A memorial for the victims which had been scheduled for Saturday afternoon by the family of Leeward was canceled. “The Reno Air Racing Association is planning a public vigil to be held in the near future,” the Association said in a statement. “We are working to release details by the end of today (Saturday).”

Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the cause of the accident.