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Stunt team's death plunge horror

An air show reopened with a minute's silence yesterday – a day after a pilot and wing walker died in a horrific crash in front of thousands of spectators.

Organisers decided to continue with the Vectren Air Show near Dayton, in southwestern Ohio, US, in honour of pilot Charlie Schwenker and veteran stuntwoman Jane Wicker, both of Virginia.

The two were killed when their 450 HP Stearmans biplane crashed and was engulfed in flames. No one else was hurt.

Video of the crash showed their plane gliding through the sky before abruptly rolling over, crashing and exploding into flames. Wicker had been performing at the show for the first time. The decision to resume the show was supported by Wicker's ex-husband, said the air show's general manager. The cause of the crash is unclear and the conclusion of an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is likely to take months.

Some spectators said they knew something was wrong because the plane was flying low and slow.

Thanh Tran, of Fairfield, Ohio, said he could see a look of concern on Wicker's face just before the plane went down.

"She looked very scared," he said. "Then the airplane crashed on the ground. After that, it was terrible, man... very terrible."

hnews@herald.ie


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