During the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nevada yesterday, a pilot lost control of his vintage plane during a race, only to crash into box seats next to a grandstand, leaving 50 injured, and sadly, as of today, nine dead.
According to authorities, seven of the victims died on the tarmac, including the pilot, and the remainder succumbed to their injuries in the hospital.
Check out footage from the crash (above). WARNING - although not graphic, this is not easy to watch.
Although the pilot, Jimmy Leeward, lost his life in the crash, along with many others, more than one spectator have come forward to call him a hero for avoiding the grandstand.
Ben Cissell explains:
"I think that pilot in the last seconds pulled up because he saw the bleachers and saved about 200 or 300 others. I don't mean this as a disrespect to others injured, but that pilot is a hero. He saved a lot of lives today. It could have been much worse."
And Kim Fonda agrees:
"I closed my eyes and said, 'I am going to die now'. I was literally preparing to die and then he jerked the plane away and it landed like 25 feet from us. I want his family to know he was a hero."
So unbelievably tragic. And although our hearts go out to all those injured, as well as the loved ones of those who were lost in the crash, we are also very grateful that no more lives were lost - especially when this could have been a much more catastrophic accident.
May those nine people R.I.P.
Tags: death, grandstand, injured, jimmy leeward, national championship air races and air show, nevada, pilot, plane crash, reno, tarmac