Disaster in Reno

Editor’s Note: Today’s air show disaster is one of the worst in US history.  This report from the LA Times:

At least two people were confirmed killed and 54 injured Friday afternoon when a plane crashed into the stands at an air race in Reno. Because of the number and severity of injuries, the death toll was expected to rise.

The known dead were the 74-year-old pilot and at least one other person. Mike Houghton, president of the Reno Championship Air Races, said he did “not have a final count of the number of deceased.”

“We are all devastated by this tragedy and we are doing everything we can,” he said at an evening press conference as grim-faced officials stood behind him.

PHOTOS: Reno air show tragedy

Houghton speculated that the plane could have had a mechanical failure; he said the National Transportation Safety Board had taken over investigation of the crash.

More than 15 pilots have lost their lives at the Reno air races in their 48-year history, according to the Reno Journal Gazette, but Houghton said this is the first time spectators have been injured.

Houghton described the pilot, Jimmy Leeward, as…(read more)

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