Latest Information on the Galloping Ghost Tragedy

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Updated: 11/09/2011 12:58 pm
UPDATE 8:30 a.m. 11-19-11 - ( & KRNV) Reno, Nev.- One more person has died from injuries sustained in the plane crash at the Reno Air Races, bringing the new death toll to ten.  

St. Mary's Regional Medical Center reported at 7:35 a.m. this morning another person under its care has died. The identity of the person has not been released.
UPDATE 1:15 p.m. - ( and KRNV) Reno, NV - NTSB has now confirmed nine are dead from the Galloping Ghost tragedy. Two in the hospital, seven at the scene. 

54 people have been taken to the hospital.

Three NTSB investigators were on site when the crash happened.

They have done a walk through.  The site has been isolated.  The investigation is just getting started.

NTSB wouldn't comment on the cause of the accident.

Following the investigation, NTSB will give a safety regulation to avoid tragedies like this in the future.

UPDATE: 12:10 p.m. - The NTSB news conference has been moved to a different location at the Reno-Stead Airport.  The news conference scheduled for 12:15 p.m. will be delayed because of the move.
UPDATE: 11:55 a.m. - NTSB will hold a news conference at 12:15.  
Update 10:45a.m :  NTSB is on the scene of the Galloping Ghost tragedy at the Reno-Stead Airport.  They're investigating to find the cause of the deadly plane crash. 

A total of 30 patients have been taken to Renown Regional Medical Center because of this incident.  6 are in critical condition, 2 in serious, 5 in fair and 1 in good condition.

So far 14 patients have been treated and discharged.  The number of patients who have died is still at 2.

Renown South Meadows Medical Center received 5 patients and all of those individuals have been discharged.

In all, 35 people were treated at Renown Health hospitals.  

9:45 p.m. St. Mary's Hospital Update - 25 total patients, 4 in critical condition, 6 in serious condition, and 15 in satisfactory condition. 


UPDATE 7:45 p.m. - Mike Houghton holds a press conference about the crash. There are a total of 54 injuries; all have been transported to local hospitals to be treated. There is no final count of deceased. 

He states that the plane was flying on course. 

Reno/Stead Airport is closed to all air traffic while the NTSB investigation is ongoing. 

This is the first time there has been a crash with live spectators. 

The grandstand holds 10,000 people; however there were 7,500 people in attendance. 

Family can call 211 (local) for updates on their loved ones. 


UPDATE 6:25 p.m. - 2 people confirmed dead. 

UPDATE 6:17 p.m. - Air races have been canceled for the weekend.  

Renown Health Update as of 6:15 p.m. - 

Renown Regional Medical Center has received a total of 22 patients. Further information will be provided as it is confirmed. 

9 critical: Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits.  Patient may be unconscious.  Indicators are unfavorable.

11 fair: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits.  Patient is conscious, but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.

2 deceased

UPDATE 6:09 p.m. - According to President & CEO of the Reno Air Races Mike Houghton, the Pilot is confirmed dead and this is a mass casualty situation. 

There are fatalities, but they haven't confirmed how many. 

RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) - Breaking News: Plane Reported down at Reno Air Races. 

It has been confirmed the Unlimited P 51 mustang plane "Galloping Ghost" piloted by Jimmy Leeward, age 74 from Ocala, Florida has gone into the stands during Race 77. 

News4 is heading to the scene and will report more when it is available to us. 

61 Comment(s)
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sky king - 9/27/2011 6:30 PM
0 Votes
what happened to the pilot? He must be in the debris field. I wonder if that foot that the lady was screaming about was jimmy's. Morbid curiosity has got the better of me.

paverunner - 9/22/2011 11:54 PM
0 Votes
Well here we are. We have completed the series of three crashes and now should get some time before the next series starts. I think Catballou should take in a dog show and relax. Maybe one sponsered by Obama. On to more interesting things I would suggest this was an all out race with modified aircraft and was dangerous to the pilots and to everyone else. We love the excitement and that is why we go. The chance of getting hurt is very very low. This was an exception. Oh well. Now to the lost trim tab. let's discuss this. I note the tab is completely gone. This is very important. If it was draging the story would be different. We start with what does the trim tab do? It causes the elevator to be pushed up or down to help ease control presure one way or the other. You can fly any aircraft without using the trim tab but it is tiring because you must keep constant presure on the stick to maintain your atitude. So given the tab came off completely it was the same as neutral trim. I would guess that these aircraft are designed to fly at 0 trim at speed. There is a thing we call "getting it up on the step" which means getting it all trimed out and we get max speed and ususlly you are at 0 trim. Now were back to what happened next. The aircraft climbed to almost vertical. (remember ther were 4 feet cut off the wings of this aircraft). It entered a stall and spin. No recovery was possible as that would have required a least 3000 feet. the rest is history. I don't know if I am right but this is what I saw including the new information. If you have a another theory it would be interesting.

catballou - 9/22/2011 1:50 PM
0 Votes
Interesting how many of the commentators seem more concerned about the event's survival than of the numerous lives lost and injured. They are sure they know just what those killed would want. Living in a civilized society means that citizens provide for the safety of fellow citizens. That is not socialism. That is not communism. It is community. Yes, risk taking is human. All the more reason to provide a sane framework that ensures that our safety and lives are not needlessly sacrificed to subsidize a high risk endeavor. Responsibility and accountability. Air race lovers and all citizens have a right to facts; including the true risks of attending such an event; not condescended to with romantacized testimonies about what the dead would have wanted. Remember Jaws? The water is safe! Come One! Come All. Art imitates reality. Some time to grieve for and support the families of those who lost, please?

thomas - 9/19/2011 11:13 AM
0 Votes
I feel that once the NTSB determines the cause, that all planes, I mean all planes, go through a serious pre-flight check by the FAA and safety people. Especially after qualifying runs. Lot of load on the planes flight control surfaces. I feel the races should continue. NASCAR didn't fold after Earnhart or Fireball roberts, or any of the other racers who died. Nor has open wheel racing or Indy Cars stopped. Safety people continue to work on making vehicles safer. People need to realize, and I am tired of hearing this. Yes these may be "vintage" WWII aircraft. But they are completely rebuilt, refurbished vintage aircraft and very flight worthy. Unfortunately things do go wrong. For now, we mourn for those lost and injured and my prayers go out to all. Then we regroup and see how this sport can be safer and still provide the excitement that is expected.

thomas - 9/19/2011 11:01 AM
0 Votes
After looking at all of the video and stills of the plane, it is apparent to me three things are wrong. 1- the trim tab on the left horizontal stabilizer is missing, which definitely affects flight control. 2- the tail wheel is down, possibly indicating he was attempting to lower the gear to help stabilize the plane. 3- most notably is the fact that the pilots head and helmet could not be seen in the cockpit, which to me could be an indication that he might have blacked out. The force of the rapid pullup and the three flips before the dive would place an enormous amount of G force. I don't know if he had a g suit on or not, but if he didn't then there could have been enough G force to cause him to black out. I think he was trying to get the gear down to stabilize the plane possibly to attempt to regain control and make an emergency landing, but possibly blacked out before that happened. Just my observations.

magnetoguy - 9/19/2011 10:56 AM
1 Vote
The same thing happened to Voodoo a few years back when the trim tab ripped off the tail, and the pilot lost consciousness from the g-forces of pitching upward. Jimmy was likely out cold when the plane rolled over. His head down. Looking at the tail of the Ghost, the control surfaces were straight. The plane was an unguided missile, in my opinion. One pilot behind Jimmy mentioned extreme rapid wing deflection and the loss of a trim tab on the tail. Other aircraft were visibly challenged by rough air from prop wash. Jimmy was catching up to Voodoo and Strega when speed and turbulence broke it. The steel tail wheel lock snapped too. Huge g-forces. Tremendous speeds.

paverunner - 9/17/2011 10:07 PM
1 Vote
Stop the rescue stuff. They were great. What do you want? Dgodecke- You are right. Maybe the landing gear was trying to extend which it could not at that speed. You and I know it was not right. If you followed my previous post I mentioned these aircraft accidents happen in sets of three. Now we have had two. One here and one back east. One to go. Sorry but that has been my experance after years in this business. I think the pilot of this aircraft did his best to avoid the crowd but he didn't have time. At the speed they were going things just happen to fast. When I hear people speak of "moving the grand stands futher away I have to roll my eyes. One of these aircraft could crash in Stead itself or even Reno. They cover a lot of ground really fast.

AndyJ - 9/17/2011 8:58 PM
0 Votes
Hey Turk, just so you're aware, the field rescue team had just practiced for a mass casualty incident that morning. I've also read that numerous spectators on the ground were commended by race/EMS officials for the help they rendered on scene. It's also standard practice at things like this for the announcer to tell everyone to stay back. They don't know what kind of dangers may exist, not to mention a flood of good-intentioned people would bog down the scene completely, making trained triage, treatment, and transport even more difficult than it already is with 60+ casualties.

paverunner - 9/17/2011 7:24 PM
0 Votes
I know this is not the right time so forgive me but there are many people who love aviation on line and they deserive to see this vidio. www.thebestever.wmv This is keeping your cool!

Dgodecke - 9/17/2011 5:20 PM
0 Votes
Did not anyone notice in the photos of the plane just before it it that the tail wheel was down? The doors are open and the wheel that should have been tucked up in the plane was extended in the landing position.

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