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Lamont meets with National Guard responders to B-17 crash

EAST GRANBY -- Governor Ned Lamont visited the firehouse at the Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby for a meet-and-greet with the Connecticut National Guardsmen and firefighters who responded to the B-17 plane crash at Bradley International Airport earlier this month.

The governor wanted to thank the first responders for their actions in responding to the crash of the vintage plane.

The plane carrying 13 people crashed and burned after experiencing mechanical trouble on takeoff on October 2 from Bradley International Airport.

Pilot Ernest McCauley, 75, of Long Beach, California, had flown for over 20 years with the educational group that owned the World War II-era plane and was also its safety officer.

Five passengers were killed along with McCauley and the co-pilot, Michael Foster, 71, of Jacksonville, Florida, passengers Gary Mazzone, 60, of East Windsor, Robert Riddell, 59, of East Granby, James Roberts, 48, of Ludlow, Massachusetts; David Broderick, 56, of West Springfield, Massachusetts; and Robert Rubner, 64, of Tolland, Connecticut.

NTSB member Jennifer Homendy said at a news conference shortly after the crash, they will look into witness reports that work was being done on one or two of the engines prior to takeoff. The plane had last been through a major inspection in January 2019, she said.

The retired, civilian-registered plane was associated with the Collings Foundation, an educational group that brought its Wings of Freedom vintage aircraft display to the airport.

The vintage bomber, also known as a Flying Fortress, one of the most celebrated Allied planes of World War II,  was used to take history buffs and aircraft enthusiasts on short flights, during which they could get up and walk around the loud and windy interior.

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