B-17 Bomber “Liberty Belle” Crashes Near Chicago

A vintage World War II B-17 bomber, dubbed the “Liberty Belle,” crashed and burned this morning in a cornfield outside Chicago.

The Boeing aircraft, commonly referred to as a “Flying Fortress,” took off from the Aurora Municipal Airport around 9:30 AM and was forced to make an emergency landing after the pilot reported an engine fire.

According to the Chicago Tribune, one witness saw the pilot set the plane down in a gap between a relay tower about 60 to 70 feet high and a line of trees 25 to 30 feet high.

“He did a great job,” said Jim Barry, a local who was sitting in his home when he heard the B-17 flying low overhead.

Once the bomber touched down, flames started shooting as high as 50 feet in the air and engulfed the aircraft.

Don Brooks, founder of the Liberty Foundation, the organization that spearheaded the plane’s restoration in 2004, said the seven people on board- comprised of crew members and volunteers who help with the foundation’s tours around the country- all were fortunate enough to walk away without serious injury.

“It’s a sad day but a good one in that no one was hurt. An airplane can be replaced.”

Below is footage of emergency crews working to extinguish the flames on the Liberty Belle.

via Chicago Tribune