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Volunteer firefighter, National Guardsman helped saved fellow passengers on crashed B-17

WINDSOR LOCKS —  The Connecticut Air National Guard said an airman who was aboard a B-17 bomber that crashed in Connecticut opened a hatch that allowed some passengers to escape a fire.

According to the National Guard, James Traficante has training and experience in handling emergencies on aircraft. After the crash Wednesday morning at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport, he used flame-retardant flight gloves he had brought with him to open the hatch.

The airman suffered injuries and has been recovering at home since his release from a hospital Wednesday evening. The airman is currently command chief for the 103rd Airlift Wing. Seven people were killed in the crash of the World War II-era plane.

National Guard released the following statement:

The Airman is the current command chief for the 103rd Airlift Wing and a trained C-130 loadmaster. As an aircrew member, he has training and experience in handling emergency incidents on aircraft. He brought his military issued flame retardant flight gloves with him during the flight, and using these, was able to open a hatch on the aircraft allowing other passengers to egress the plane after the crash. He suffered injuries and was transported to Hartford Hospital for treatment. He was released yesterday evening and continues to recover at home. Any further details on his specific actions will be revealed through the investigation.

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