CHICAGO — A World War II era “Flying Fortress” bomber crashed into a field near Chicago and burst into flames Monday, but officials said all seven passengers on board escaped injury.
Flames and thick black smoke billowed out of the wreckage of the historic plane which was ripped in half by the force of the crash, dramatic images aired on the local news showed.
“This is an old B-17 bomber that was manufactured in 1944,” said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory.
“The aircraft departed at approximately 9:30 (am) or so and crashed shortly thereafter three to four miles south of the Aurora (Illinois) airport.”
Jim Barry heard the plane flying low over his home and when he looked outside he saw that an engine on the left wing of the bomber was on fire.
The pilot managed to bring it down in a narrow gap between a relay tower and a line of tall trees about 500 yards (meters) from Barry’s home and flames were soon shooting 50 feet in the air.
“He did a great job,” Barry told the Chicago Tribune.
The plane appears to belong to the Miami-based Liberty Foundation.