Nine persons were killed when a vintage plane, flown by a 74-year-old veteran racer and Hollywood stunt pilot, crashed during an air show in Reno on Saturday.

The 1940s-model plane appeared to lose a piece of its tail before slamming like a missile into a crowded tarmac, killing the veteran pilot and eight spectators.

The P-51 Mustang, also known as the Galloping Ghost, pitched oddly upward, twirled and took an immediate nosedive into a section of white VIP box seats. National Transportation Safety Board officials were trying to find out what caused the veteran pilot, Jimmy Leeward, to lose control of the plane, AP reported.

They were examining amateur video clips that appeared to show a small piece of the aircraft falling to the ground before the crash.