Witnesses react to air race crash on event’s final day

KOLO 8 News Now Special Edition 9/18
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 3:51 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The National Championship Air Races and Air show have been going on at the Reno-Stead Airport since 1964, with Sunday being the last day.

The grandstands were full before 10 a.m. and thousands of others filled the grounds on what they had already considered to be a sad day. But at 2:15 p.m. the day went from sad to deadly, when a north American T-6G and a North American AT-6B collided at the end of a T6 gold race.

Why the crash happened remains unclear, but the Reno Air Racing Association says it was not related to racing, and happened in the course of landing.

One thing we do know is that it happened dangerously close to homes, with the wreckage landing just across the street from houses in the Silver Knolls area.

“I’ve been out here since 1986. It was Just a matter of time,” said Mike Dunn, who lives nearby.

Witnesses we spoke to say it was surreal.

“There was all this stuff just falling out of the sky,” remarked Karen Hyatt-Miner, who was nearby at the time.

Whether or not deadly crashes on back to back years would have had an impact on the future of the event is something we’ll never know – as it was already ending. It just happened to end a few hours earlier than planned.

“Probably a good reason to stop the air races out here,” Dunn added.

How long it will take for the FAA and NTSB to have more on the crash is unclear, especially considering the 2022 crash is still being investigated.