Two aircraft accidents near Oshkosh, Wisconsin claimed four lives and injured two others just before a major air show at an aviation convention. The accidents involved a mid-air collision and a plane crashing into Lake Winnebago, shocking the aviation community.
The first accident occurred around 9 a.m. A vintage military training craft, the North American T-6, plunged into Lake Winnebago. The Coast Guard later recovered the bodies of the two individuals on board. The plane rapidly descended from an altitude of approximately 3,000 feet, leading to the devastating crash.
Around noon, another tragic incident unfolded at Wittman Regional Airport. A RotorWay 162F helicopter and an ELA 10 Eclipse gyrocopter collided midair in the designated event area, resulting in two fatalities. Two others were injured and taken to a local hospital, where they are currently in stable condition.
Authorities will withhold the victims’ identities until their families are notified. Event organizers clarified that the helicopter and gyrocopter belonged to attendees of the aviation convention and were not part of the scheduled air show.
These accidents cast a shadow over the aviation community. They evoke memories of the Tenerife airport disaster in 1977, the deadliest aviation accident in history, where two Boeing 747s collided on a runway, resulting in 583 fatalities.
The history of aviation also recalls the first major plane crash in 1908. A modified Wright Brothers aircraft crashed during a demonstration, killing the observer, Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge, and injuring Orville Wright.
While the Oshkosh accidents serve as a sobering reminder of aviation’s inherent risks, it’s crucial to continue striving for safety and learning from past incidents. Investigators will likely focus on determining the causes to prevent such tragedies in the future.
Despite these heartbreaking incidents, the air show commenced as planned, albeit with a brief delay. Aviation enthusiasts gathered to celebrate their shared passion for flight.