Two people are reported dead at the scene, including the 80-year-old pilot of the modified aircraft. Some reports estimate 75 people have been injured, some critically. Pilot Jimmy Leeward just turned 80 and was flying a modified aircraft at the Races, attended by hundreds of onlookers, Reno media reports.
In the middle of a demonstration, the airplane was rolling over and at 100 feet off the ground a ground crew spokesperson said “the pilot pulled back on the stick while upside down, sending the plane straight into the ground,” according to the report. The crash occurred at 4:30 local time.
Some spectators also appeared to have been sitting in front of the stands, not far from where the crash occurred, Reuters reports. Shrapnel from the plane was thought to have struck dozens of onlookers.
A bystander farther from the crash filmed the incident and uploaded the video to YouTube. He depicts a horrific scene where dust is flung into the air as the plane strikes the ground.
All further events at the Championship Air Races have been cancelled.