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Passengers survive WWII-era plane crash

A World War II-era military aircraft carrying 13 passengers crashed and caught fire shortly after takeoff in central Texas on Saturday.

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 6:12 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 6:21 AM

A World War II-era military aircraft carrying 13 passengers crashed and caught fire shortly after takeoff in central Texas on Saturday.

All passengers on board the cargo plane survived and were able to exit the aircraft, according to the Burnet County Sheriff's Office. In addition to several minor injuries, one person was airlifted by helicopter to a medical center, they said.

The aircraft, a vintage Douglas C-47 named "Bluebonnet Belle," was on its way to an air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, when it crashed in the town of Burnet.

In a video of the incident, the plane can be seen dipping dangerously to the left just after takeoff. The plane's wing hits the ground and the aircraft comes to a stop as it bursts into flames.

Chris Dowell, a staff member in the Highland Lakes Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force, which owns the plane, told CNN affiliate KXAN that the aircraft is a "total loss."

"We are very fortunate that everybody that was on board the aircraft got out of the aircraft safely, with a few minor injuries," Dowell said.

He added that while some of the passengers were volunteers with the Commemorative Air Force, others were guests and family members.

According to Dowell, the C-47 is a military cargo plane that transported service members during WWII. For volunteers in the Commemorative Air Force, who spend their spare time maintaining and operating the aircraft, Dowell said the loss of the plane is tragic.

"We spend a lot of time and energy maintaining these aircrafts," Dowell said. "It becomes part of your family. It becomes part of your life."

Dowell said the accident won't stop his squadron from continuing its mission to educate young people about WWII history.

"We have an air show scheduled in September, right here in Burnet," Dowell said. "That air show will continue."

The Federal Aviation Administration is handling an investigation of the incident, according to the sheriff's office.

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