2 dead after fiery plane crash at air show in Ohio

Posted at 3:11 PM, Jun 22, 2013

From Janet DiGiacomo and Rick Martin


(CNN) — A stunt plane crashed at an Ohio air show on Saturday, killing two people, organizers said.

A wing walker was performing on a Stearman biplane when it plunged to the ground, FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.

The aircraft crashed and exploded in a grassy area between two runways at the Vectren Dayton Air Show, Lunsford said.

Video from CNN affiliate WHIO showed the plane in flames after it hit the ground.

In a statement on its website, the air show said there were no injuries.

Before the crash, an air show announcer described wing walker Jane Wicker balancing on the plane as it hurtled forward at 110 mph.

“You’re facing that wind and then you have to fight the wind, and then you have to get yourself back upright. … Watch this, Jane Wicker sitting on top of the world,” the announcer said.

Seconds later, the plane plummeted and the crowd erupted in screams.

The FAA’s website lists Wicker as the registered owner of the plane.

WHIO reported that Wicker, who is well-known among the stunt show community, was onboard. A Facebook page devoted to the stunt performer said she had been killed.

“It is with sad hearts that we announce that Jane Wicker was killed while performing at the Vectren Dayton Airshow,” the Jane Wicker Airshows Facebook page said. “We ask for your prayers for the families and privacy of all involved and allow them time to grieve and work through these events.”

The Dayton air show’s website describes her act as “daring and breathtaking.”

“With no safety line and no parachute, Jane amazes the crowd by climbing, walking, and hanging all over her beautiful 450 HP Stearman aircraft she affectionately calls ‘Aurora,'” the description says.

A website for Wicker’s company said she started wing walking after answering an ad in the Washington Post classifieds.

“She answered that ad thinking that wing walking would be an exciting way to enter the airshow business, not to mention a lot of fun,” the website said. “Her first time airborne on the wing also happened to be her first show. She fell in love with it.”

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating Saturday’s crash.

The remaining air show performances scheduled Saturday were canceled. The show will resume on Sunday, officials said.

CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet and Phil Gast contributed to this report.

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