At approximately 4:20 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, during Unlimited Class Gold Heat, the P-51 Mustang “Galloping Ghost,” piloted by Jimmy Leeward, crashed into the box seat area in front of the main grandstand.
It was a mass casualty situation and local emergency personnel were on the scene immediately. All aspects of the horrific situation were handled swiftly and professionally by the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) staff. The Executive Committee, Police Chief, Fire Marshall officials, FAA, NTSB, Reno Mayor and Nevada Governor were convened in the media center to review the situation and prepare official statements.
Mike Houghton, CEO and President of RARA gave two press conferences and extended his deepest sympathies and condolences to all of the families involved in the tragic accident. “The Air Races are truly one big family and our thoughts are with all of our aviation family members, immediate and extended.” – just some of the official comments provided in last night’s press conference.
Because of this very sad time this is all I can say… For now, you may view the second press conference video from last night here. (sorry, wordpress is upgrading their system so we can’t upload the video press conference until Monday, September 19, 2011)
Later I will post many beautiful photographs taken by many of my fellow photographers.
My deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones and to the family of Jimmy Leeward.
Kimberley West, WarBiordBabe