September 19th, 2011
11:31 AM ET

Nevada air show death toll rises to 10

The death toll from a crash at an air race at Reno, Nevada, has risen to 10, one of the hospitals treating patients from Friday's accident said Monday.

Close to 70 people were injured in the incident, which occurred Friday.

National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind said investigators are looking at whether the plane's apparently damaged elevator trim tab - whose breaking apart was captured in a photograph - played a role in the nosedive crash. Authorities do not know why the aircraft went down.

A full investigation could take six to nine months, Rosekind said.

Investigators will be poring over a trove of spectators' videos and photos, he said.

"It seems there were a tremendous number of cameras and video that was captured," he said. "On the one hand, it's an excellent source of information, but on the other hand, there's not a lot of other specific components from the wreckage that at this point we can identify."

At the time of the crash, three NTSB investigators happened to be at the air show - a common practice - and one of them has been appointed investigator in charge, Rosekind said.

The board will look at safety oversight and the placement of the grandstands for the air race, Rosekind said.

soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. People_are_idiots

    Two thoughts... First, somebody said that there hadn't been an accident at this event in 40 years. Maybe so but there have been numerous accidents like this at other air shows. They aren't safe! Second, a 74 year old person shouldn't be allowed to fly a plane. Even commercial airlines make their pilots retire at a certain age and it's LONG before 70!!! I agree with sammy sozo, it's time to put airs shows to rest!

    September 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      I guess it would be a waste of time to wait for an official finding before assigning blame. From the initial report the 'old guy' was able to turn the aircraft away from the crowd before the crash. I guess we should ban auto racing, if accidents, and fan injuries are used as a criteria.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • HotTubDeathMachine

      His plane broke...his age had nothing to do with it

      September 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • pod

      "put airshows to rest" – give me a break. More like, learn from mistakes and move on.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • katie

      age does not appear to be a factor. might be better to wait and gather the necessary facts rather than jumping to hasty conclusions.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      If you think they're too dangerous, don't go to them. For me, the enjoyment outweighs the risk.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davethecanuck

      Knee jerk reactions always help me sort out the morons.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bagogas

      Air Shows and Air Races are two different things. They have different requirements and different safety records. Please try not to confuse the two. While both have better safety records than most other activities and sports, condemning one based on a knee-jerk reaction to the other is irresponsible. It's like demanding an end to Basketball because of an injury that occurred in football. They're both professional spectator sports that use a ball, after all...

      September 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mott the Hoople

      It wasn't HIS age, it was the age of his plane! Time to let 60+ year old planes retire to museums.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      Great idea, Michael! Don't forget to ban boat races, horse racing and dog racing while we're at it. Let's see, there are people injured at gun shows and other like venues, so let's ban them as well. Tractor pulls and truck rallies could be dangerous, put them on the list as dangerous. [/sarcasm]

      September 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Had I been a bit smarted I wouldn't have wasted my time responding to you

      September 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • jerryherb

      yeah, lets abolish leaving your home also, because that is not safe either. maybe we should start putting labels on the inside of everyone's front door. "leaving your premises could lead to death and injury, you should instead stay home and watch TV". REALLY?!

      September 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bagogas

      @Mott: Seriously? The P-51 Mustang might be 60 years old, but what percentage of that particular airplane do you really think is 60 years old? 10%? 20%? Air racers are so heavily modified and rebuilt that not much of it is original any more. Air racing is like NASCAR stock car racing... There's nothing on those cars that you'll ever find the Taurus in your garage.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • You_are_people_too

      Apparently your name tag is right on the spot in relation to yourself...I bet that pilot was in better shape than your fat can wedged in behind your keyboard. Keep them flying so that they who love to fly and those who love to see them fly can enjoy the wonders and accomplishments of flight.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I think you are crazy, I have been part of airshows for over 25 years and there have been very few accidents. Even less that have had fatalities in the crowd in the US. You have a higher risk of being killed walking across the street. Yes, I have lost several friends including this weekend but they were doing what they loved. Also the crash in Reno was not an airshow it was a race. Totally different thing and the risk is just as high at Nascar races. As for the pilots age, he was in top physical condition, he passed all required medicals and anything else that was required of him. This was a mechanical failure not a pilot issue. Do not speak of which you do not know.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • yes_they_are

      I have never posted on a site like this before, but I am so angry at some of these posts, I had to.

      PeopleAreStupid– Do not speak unless you know what you are talking about. Speaking as someone who has met the pilot on several occasions, he is A LOT SHARPER AT 74 THAN YOU WILL EVERY BE AT ANY AGE. It has nothing to do with age. You can be a good pilot, or a bad one for that matter, at any age.

      Also, when you attend an airshow, there is an assumption of risk. This was an AIR RACE. The planes go extremely fast and things can go wrong. If you do not want to take the risk of being in the crowd, then don't go.

      Now, can we just let the families of all those who died in Reno mourn their losses, celebrate the lives of the their loved ones, and move on. This is a sad day for a lot of folks out there, can we all show the some respect please?

      September 19, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • alumette

      Come on people. Likely he was passed out from the G forces since we do not see his head and second, there is no pulling up when in a power on stall. There is no control. The plane does not respond. It was a fluke he did not hit more people.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • hh-

      ok, people_are_idiots.... you're an idiot. Boat races, car races, rodeos and canteloupe are killing people as well. Just because air races are unsafe, doesn't mean you have to go. it is a select group of people who go this stuff. When joining this group you agree to the risks. If you weren't there, this is not your deal. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, if you weren't in the situatiuon, quite frankly you need to shut up. I am a 3rd generation female pilot and have avidly attended these shows. I accept these risks. And by the way, I would trust my 78 year old grandfather to fly me versus your idiot self. now may God bless you....

      September 23, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. RUFFNUTT ( Somalian pirate & fisherman )

    @people.. agreed, old people suk at driving, and flying...
    .
    74=old.. that guy should have been retired 10 years ago.. 60years old and out... no more flying..

    September 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bagogas

      I love statistics, especially with age... Since the vast majority of auto accidents are caused by drivers under the age of 25, driving under the age of 25 should be illegal. Obviously the moment you hit 25, you're a good driver.

      Makes just as much sense as a pilot becoming a bad pilot because he hit 60 years old. The reason the airlines muster pilots out at that age has more to do with high salaries than it has to do with pilot age. Anyone who knows even the slightest amount about proof of skill can know that, at anyone who has ever even seen a commercial airliner knows that there are always at least two pilot seats occupied and the other seat can certainly be filled by a 40 year old if you're worried about age.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • jerryherb

      if you followed the story you would know that pilot is not his profession, hence there is nothing to retire from as this was obviously his hobby.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bagogas

      Captain Chesley Sullenberger successfully dead-sticked a stricken airliner, full of passengers, with all engines failed, to a successful ditching in the Hudson River, saving every passenger an crewmember on board in 2009.

      He was 57 years old at the time. He wasn't a good pilot because he was just a hairs-breath under 60 (or 70, or...) Age = Experience and skill. Most cultures honor it. There's a reason.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • jerryherb

      welcome to america where old=useless. lets put them in a home and sell their property/belongings so the kids can get that mercedes they always wanted.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mk2

    Poor people, first fatalities at the air show in 40 years. Anyone saying this was dangerous needs to get a grip.

    September 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greenspam

      Come on, 9/11 was a once in 50 years event and look at all the security measures we put in place.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • YDvall

      There have been numerous fatalities at Reno over the years, as recently as 2007 and 2008. This may be the first time people in the crowd died, but definitely pilots have been killed there. The whole thing is irresponsible.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      What does 9/11 have to do with this event? You've compared apples and pineapples.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jim

    Box seats and VIP areas should be banned. Look how dangerous they are.

    September 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • jd

      Let's ban everything because someone could get hurt

      September 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. M

    Too old to fly? Chronological age is not a fair or logical criteria by which to start limiting people's activities. Especially in the case of an active participant with years of skill practice.

    September 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    My condolences to the families who have lost loved ones.

    September 19, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pod

    nice generalization – i bet you've been waiting a long time to write that well crafted, thought out comment!

    September 19, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    [citation needed]

    Seriously . . . The aftermath of a tragic accident, and that's all you can say?

    September 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lsaguy

    By the criteria of the ban the airshows they're too dangerous mantra. Ban highways and cars, they killed 43,354 people last year. Ban boating, 672 people died in boating accidents last year. Ban ladders, 355 people died falling off these dangerous devices. And of course, ban hand guns, 28,663 died because of them. Maroons.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Everything has risks. If you banned everything that could kill you we would fly, drive or even cross the street. Get a grip. Things happen. Learn from it and move on.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. observer

    They were participating in a highly illehal air race. Much like in illegal street racing, in air racing they use unsafe highly modified souped up aeroplanes. These things are unstable in the air and very dangerous. In an interview before the race even the pilot commented he was unsure about the planes handling abilities. He just sounds like 1 less moron in the sky.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Soulcatcher

    Pilots are 100% responsible for inspecting their plane before takeoff.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GrampsDiesThenCrashes

    Let's see... Gramps keels while flying a plane and crashed into a crowd of onlookers... is anyone shocked?

    September 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      Isn't the internet a wonderful thing, you can get on here and be as hateful as you want and stay anonymous.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ray

    If we're going to ban air races/shows and sideline the pilots because of trajic incidents then we should get rid of congress and every legislator over 60. Congress has caused far greater tragedies than any air show. Perhaps the country would be better off if we had homeland security watch over congress.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. observer

    It is a shame for the spectators that were injured but they should have had enough sense not to be there in the first place. A 74 year old should be in a retirement home. Not pretending to be 24 year old and murdering innocent spectators in an attempt to act young.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • jerryherb

      im sure the retirement home is where your kids will put you too...

      September 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
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