A vintage World War II plane crashed into a crowd killing 2 and injuring 54 in Reno, Nev., on Friday at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show.
An 80-year-old pilot, identified as Jimmy Leeward, a real estate developer from Ocala, Florida, was flying the World War II plane, P-51 Mustang, according to a statement published by the show. The airplane, named the “Galloping Ghost” flew vertically and then suddenly dropped and plunged into the grandstand, witnesses of the tragic incident reported.
The event has been canceled and a memorial service will be held for the pilot Saturday afternoon, the show said.
Leeward was a well-known stuntman and air racing pilot who flew over 120 races. He participated in air races in the 1970s. He owned an air racing team. He was flying a P-51 Mustang.
Several witnesses were calling the pilot a hero because he maneuvered the plane away from the crowded grandstands at the last moment.
The injured included 12 people in critical condition and 11 in fair condition, exhibiting stable vital signs.
Video of the crash, posted on YouTube, showed a plane plummeting from the sky, sending up clouds of dust and debris.