x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Wing walker, pilot die in crash at Ohio air show

A plane carrying a wing walker crashed at an air show and exploded into flames, killing the pilot and stunt walker instantly.

CINCINNATI, UNITED STATES // A plane carrying a wing walker crashed at an air show and exploded into flames, killing the pilot and stunt walker instantly.

The crash of the 450 HP Stearman biplane happened at the Vectren Air Show at Dayton International Airport in the state of Ohio. No spectators were hurt.

Video shows the plane turn upside-down as the performer sits on top of the wing. The plane then tilts and crashes to the ground, exploding into flames as spectators screamed.

Ian Hoyt, 20, an aviation photographer and licensed pilot, was at Saturday's show with his girlfriend. He said he was taking photos as the plane passed by and had just raised his camera to take another shot.

"Then I realised they were too low and too slow. And before I knew it, they hit the ground," he said.

Mr Hoyt could not tell exactly what happened, but said it appeared that the plane stalled and did not have enough air speed. He credited the pilot, Charlie Schwenker, for steering clear of spectators and potentially saving lives.

"Had he drifted more, I don't know what would have happened," Mr Hoyt said. He said he had been excited to see the show because he'd never seen the scheduled performer - wing walker Jane Wicker - in action.

On the video, the announcer narrates as the plane glides through the sky and rolls over while the stuntwoman perches on a wing.

"Now she's still on that far side. Keep an eye on Jane. Keep an eye on Charlie. Watch this! Jane Wicker, sitting on top of the world," the announcer said, right before the plane makes a quick turn and nosedive.

Spectators returned to the air show yesterday. The day's events set to begin with a moment of silence to honour Schwenker and Wicker.