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Names of victims killed in B-17 plane crash released

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Names of victims killed in B-17 plane crash released

WINDSOR LOCKS, CT (WFSB) - Seven people died in a vintage WWII plane crash at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.

The fiery crash happened at a building at the airport just before 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Smoke seen at Bradley Airport Wednesday morning after a B-17 crashed

The victims

In total, state police said 16 people were involved. 

Police released the names of those killed in the crash on Thursday:

Ernest McCauley, 75 - Pilot

Michael Foster, 71 - Co-Pilot

David Broderick, 56 - passenger from West Springfield, MA

Gary Mazzone, 66, - passenger from Broad Brook, CT

James Roberts, 48 - passenger from Ludlow, MA

Robert Riddell, 59 - passenger from East Granby, CT

Robert Rubner, 64 - passenger from Tolland, CT

There were 13 people aboard the plane. Three of them were crew members and 10 were passengers. Seven of the people on board were killed.

Two airport employees were inside the building at the time of the crash.

One firefighter was hurt battling the fire.

The victims were taken to three different area hospitals, including Hartford, St. Francis, and the Bridgeport Hospital Burn Unit.

State troopers reported that some of the victims were injured beyond recognition.

B-17 crash at Bradley

Officials confirmed that a B-17 plane crashed at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.

During a Hartford Hospital news conference on Thursday afternoon, it was revealed that three victims were released from the hospital. One person remained there and two others were transferred to the burn unit in Bridgeport.

All of the victims were connected with their families.

Gary Mazzone

The Vernon Police Department identified one of the victims as retired Capt. Gary Mazzone.

Also Thursday, the Vernon Police Department identified one of the victims as retired Capt. Gary Mazzone. It said it received confirmation of Mazzone's death on Wednesday night. He was a member of the department for 22 years before becoming an inspector within the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice.

Wednesday night, Channel 3 learned that another victim was Rob Riddell, a WWII enthusiast. His family said he died doing what he loved.

Channel 3 learned that another victim was Rob Riddell, a WWII enthusiast.

Wednesday afternoon, Simsbury officials confirmed two volunteer firefighters were aboard the B-17. Hospital officials confirmed one firefighter was brought to the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit. Their conditions were not released.

A member of the Connecticut Air National Guard was also a passenger on the B-17 at the time of the crash and was hurt.

Troopers said any immediate family members only looking for information on the crash can call the Connecticut State Police Message Center at 860-685-8190.

The investigation

National Transportation Safety Board returned to the crash scene on Thursday morning to examine ground scars from the aircraft.

State police said the pilot attempted to make a landing on one of the runways when the B-17 aircraft crashed. The pilot had reported a problem shortly after takeoff and tried to swing the plane around. Police said the plane was in the air for approximately 5 minutes.

During the landing attempt, officials said the plane hit a landing instrument station, veered to the right, crossed the runway, and then struck a de-icing facility.

The NTSB said its investigation could take a few days.

It is looking for the public to email information, videos and pictures from the crash or moments leading up to it. The files can be emailed to witness@ntsb.gov.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing thick, black smoke following the crash. See their photos here.

Airport operations

The airport was shut down on Wednesday morning. The Federal Aviation Administration put a ground stop on all flights to the airport. The airport reopened just before 2 p.m.

Flights were mostly on schedule on Thursday morning.

For a list of flights in and out of Bradley, click here.

Health advisory

The town of Windsor issued a health advisory on Wednesday for a potential discharge of firefighting foam into the Farmington River. The foam originated from the plane crash fire at Bradley.

The Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection did respond to the crash.

Background on the B-17 aircraft

The aircraft is a civilian-registered aircraft and was not flown by the military, according to the FAA.

"We can confirm that there was an accident involving a Collings Foundation World War II aircraft [Wednesday] morning at Bradley Airport," Bradley Airport posted to Twitter

The Collings Foundation, which owns the plane, released a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were on that flight and we will be forever grateful to the heroic efforts of the first responders at Bradley," the foundation said. "The Collings Foundation flight team is fully cooperating with officials to determine the cause of the crash of the B-17 Flying Fortress and will comment further when details become known."

Five vintage WWII planes were on display at the airport to honor veterans as part of a Wings of Freedom Tour. It's unclear if any of those planes were involved.

In a statement on Wednesday, the New England Air Museum said "On behalf of the entire New England Air Museum family, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by today's crash of a vintage B-17 aircraft at Bradley International Airport. Although we are not connected to the Collings Foundation or these flights, the New England Air Museum and the Collings Foundation have a decades-long relationship and we are deeply saddened by today's tragedy."

Refresh this page and watch Eyewitness News for updates.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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