Seven people were killed when a World War II-era plane crashed and caught fire Wednesday morning as it was attempting to land at Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Conn., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Thirteen people were onboard the plane, Connecticut Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection James Rovella said at a news conference. Some of the survivors were in critical condition.
The vintage B-17, which was carrying 10 passengers and three crew members, reported trouble just minutes after it took off, according to Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon.
The plane lifted off at 9:45 a.m. ET, and "five minutes into the flight, the aircraft indicated to the tower that they were experiencing some type of problem with the aircraft," Dillon said. Observers on the ground noticed that it was not gaining altitude. It circled and tried to land.
"Unfortunately, upon touchdown, the aircraft obviously lost control, struck what's known as our de-icing facility here," he said. It also hit a maintenance facility.
Aerial images from the scene show a destroyed and charred plane, and several buildings around it appear to have sustained damage.
The airport in the town of Windsor Locks was closed for several hours after the crash. The FAA said it had "put in a ground stop for flights that are destined for the airport."The plane belongs to the Collings Foundation, a nonprofit that provides educational programs about aviation history. The foundation has a touring exhibition of antique aircraft called the "Wings of Freedom Tour" featuring five WWII planes.
The National Transportation Safety Board has launched a "go team" to investigate.
The nearby town of Windsor has issued a health warning that the firefighting foam used to combat the crash fire may have discharged into the Farmington River. "The public is advised not to come into contact with foam they may encounter on the Farmington River or the river banks, as well as to not take fish from the river," the warning reads.