Wing walker and pilot killed in crash at Ohio show

A wing walker and her pilot were killed when their biplane crashed during an air show near Dayton, in the US state of Ohio.

The plane carrying Jane Wicker overturned and hit the ground, bursting into flames in front of spectators at the Vectren Dayton Air Show.

Organisers cancelled the show for the rest of the day.

Ms Wicker’s company confirmed on Facebook that she and pilot Charlie Schwenker had died.

No spectators were hurt.

‘Really close’

The crash occurred at 12:45 (16:45 GMT) and was captured on video.

Ian Hoyt, an aviation photographer who was at the show, told the Associated Press news agency he had been taking photos as the plane passed by and had just raised his camera to take another shot.

“Then I realised they were too low and too slow,” he said. “And before I knew it, they hit the ground.”

He could not tell exactly what had happened, but it appeared that the plane had stalled.

Shawn Warwick of New Knoxville said he was watching the plane through binoculars.

“I noticed it was upside down really close to the ground,” he was quoted as saying by the Dayton Daily News.

“She was sitting on the bottom of the plane. I saw it just go right into the ground and explode.”

His wife was getting a drink when the crash happened. “I came back and everybody was just in shock,” said Cara Warwick.

‘Never scared’

Wicker first applied to be a wing walker in 1990, AP reports.

She was a contract employee who worked as a Federal Aviation Administration budget analyst.

She told WDTN-TV in an interview this week that her signature move was hanging underneath the plane’s wing by her feet and sitting on the bottom of the airplane while it was upside-down.

“I’m never nervous or scared because I know if I do everything as I usually do, everything’s going to be just fine,” she said.

One of the country’s oldest air shows, Vectren Dayton usually draws around 70,000 people.

A veteran stunt pilot, Jim LeRoy, was killed when his plane crashed and burned at the 2007 Vectren Dayton show.
bbc news

June 23rd, 2013
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