Seven people have been confirmed dead in the crash of a World War II-era bomber in Connecticut Wednesday morning, making it one of the worst air disasters in the state's history. State public safety commissioner James Rovella says six of the 13 people on the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress survived the crash at Bradley International Airport, the Hartford Courant reports. He says some of the survivors were critically injured. At least one person on the ground was also injured when the plane slammed into a maintenance building and caught fire. Officials have not identified those killed in the crash, but they say none of them were children, reports the New York Times. Two of the victims were firefighters.
Rovella says the death toll would likely have been higher if not for the efforts of rescuers and people on the plane who helped others escape. "You're going to hear about some heroic efforts from some of the individuals that were in and around that plane," he says. National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy says the plane's crew reported an issue five minutes after takeoff. It struck equipment on the ground as it attempted to land. The vintage plane, owned by the Collings Foundation nonprofit group, was built in 1945, the AP reports. The foundation says the plane was subjected to the effects of three nuclear explosions before being sold as scrap and restored. The plane, which was almost completely destroyed by fire Wednesday, also suffered a crash that injured several people at an air show in Pennsylvania in 1987. (Read more plane crash stories.)