NTSB investigation into deadly Bradley Airport crash expected to last week to 10 days

Posted: Updated:

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation into a deadly WWII-era plane crash that killed seven at Bradley International Airport could last a week to 10 days, officals say as victims are beginning to be identified.

Officials say seven people were killed when a World War II-era plane crashed at the airport Wednesday.

The crash happened at 9:45 a.m. when a vintage B-17 plane took off from Runway 6 with 10 passengers and three crew members on board. Within minutes, officials say the flight couldn't maintain altitude and crashed into a building used for deicing equipment.

Five of the six victims admitted to the hospital have been released, Kenneth Robinson, MD, Chair of Emergency Medicine for Hartford Hospital told reporters during a press conference Thursday. Robinson says the employees and staff at the hospital are not ready to disclose information about the patients’ injuries.

The wife of one of the victims killed in the crash publicly identified her husband in a Facebook post last night as Robert Riddell, of East Granby. 

A former Vernon police captain was also killed in the crash, officials confirmed.

James C. Rovella, the state commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, said the six survivors on board had injuries that ranged from minor to critical.

He said that there were two airport employees in the deicing station and that one of those employees was injured. A firefighter was also among the injured.


Rovella says the actions of surviving passengers and first responders helped prevent an even higher death toll.

The crash is being investigated by several agencies, including Connecticut State Police, the National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI.

Chopper 12 was above the scene, which showed smoke from the wreckage and responding emergency vehicles.

The airport was temporarily closed while flights were diverted to TF Green International Airport outside Providence, Rhode Island. 

Victims were taken to Hartford Hospital and the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital.


A News 12 viewer sent a video of the actual plane that went down from a recent air show. It was featured in an air show in New Jersey in August.

The Collings Foundation, which operated the B-17, says it is suspending all activities for the near future, including a tour event at Westchester County Airport scheduled for Thursday.

Airport officials say the plane was part of the Foundation’s “Wings of Freedom” vintage aircraft display. 

The NTSB expects to be at the crash site for at least one week to 10 days before a preliminary report is released to the public. 

 
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