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Investigators continue to comb through evidence from Reno air show crash

by Jorge Hernandez on September 19, 2011

Days after a World War II-era plane slammed into the crowd at a Reno, Nevada, air show, few details have emerged about what could have possibly caused the crash that killed nine people and wounded dozens of others. Investigators are still piecing together mountains of evidence as a picture of a quick response comes to light, the Associated Press reports.

Several videos of the crash have surfaced that show the plane flown by James Leeward pitching steeply upward before crashing into a VIP section of the crowd. Witnesses say it could have been much worse had the pilot hit the more-populated grandstand area where 1,000 of people were watching. Authorities speculate the mechanical failure may be responsible for the accident, but they are still trying to piece together the evidence.

One thing that has become clearer is the excellent response by emergency personnel and bystanders at the scene. Officials say that crews had trained for just such an accident just hours previously, and many spectators were pilots and veterans who are used to being in a stressful environment.

"It wasn't uncommon to see one firefighter and three people in civilian clothes carrying a litter to the proper area" Reno Fire Battalion Chief Tim Spencer told the AP. "Everybody pulled together perfectly and worked side by side."

Emergency personnel said that some of the injuries from the scene were among the worst they've encountered, including severe head wounds and amputations.

The crash came just one day ahead of a similar incident at a West Virginia air show. However, although the pilot died, the crash itself occurred away from spectators.  

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