Reno, NV Air Race Disaster, Sep 2011
"I think that pilot in the last seconds pulled up because he saw the bleachers and saved about 200 or 300 others," Cissell said.
Kim Fonda said she also saw the plane streaking toward where she was seated in the grandstands.
"I closed my eyes and said, 'I am going to die now,'" Fonda said. "I
was literally preparing to die and then he jerked the plane away and it landed like 25 feet from us. I want his family to know he was a hero."
Video of the crash, posted on YouTube, showed a plane plummeting from the sky, sending up clouds of dust and debris. Shocked spectators
rose to their feet.
Another witness, Greg Mills, said the pilot "didn't have enough altitude to pull up," with the aircraft shuddering before slamming to the ground about 50 to 75 yards from where he was standing.
The plane, called the "Galloping Ghost," was taking part in a qualifying round in the "unlimited class" division of the air race when it went down around 4:15 p.m. Friday, said Mike Draper, the show spokesman. The final rounds had been slated for the weekend.
CNN News Article 2011-09-18
The final identifications:
JIMMY LEEWARD, Pilot of the P-51 Mustang.
CHERYL ELVIN, 71, of Lenexa, Kan., who was at the air races with her husband and family. Her husband, two sons and a daughter-in-law suffered severe leg injuries and were treated at Reno Hospitals.
WENDY HEWITT, 56, of Fort Mohave, Ariz., who was attending the air races with her husband, GEORGE, 60, who also died.
JAMES McMICHAEL, 47, of Graham, Wash., was survived by his wife and an extensive family.
CRAIG SALERNO, 50, of Friendswood, Texas, was a staff member with the Wings of Houston Air Show.
REGINA BYNUM, 53, of San Angelo, Texas.
JOHN CRAIK, 47, of Gardnerville, Nev.
GREGORY MORCOM, 47, of Stanwood, Wash.
SHARON STEWART, 47, of Reno.
MICHAEL WOGAN, 22, of Phoenix.