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Two pilots killed in small World War II-era plane crash during Father’s Day event in California

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A World War II-era plane crashed during a Father’s Day event in California, killing two pilots on board the plane, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The FAA said a twin-engine Lockheed 12A crashed shortly after departing Chino Airport in California around 12:35 p.m. on Saturday, June 15. 

Officials said two people were on board when the plane crashed. No one on the ground was injured, officials said. 

Authorities did not identify the pilots, but according to two friends who spoke with FOX 11, one of the victims was Frank Wright, the Chief of Operations at the Yanks Air Museum. 

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The witness told FOX 11 that Wright had participated in a panel discussion at a Father’s Day event at the museum before the crash.

The witness told the station about the moment the plane crashed, saying it “happened right in front of my eyes.”

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The witness recalled the moment of impact to FOX 11 saying that the plane was “no more than 300 feet in the air” when it started banking to the left. 

“It took a nosedive, and the first part of the plane that hit was the left wing,” the witness said. “And what happened was [an] immediate explosion. Like [a] big fireball, black smoke.” 

Yanks Air Museum released a statement and said they are working with the FAA to determine what caused the plane to crash. 

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“Shortly after noon yesterday, one of our aircraft was involved in an accident in an unoccupied field near Chino Airport resulting in two fatalities aboard the aircraft. At this time, we are working with local authorities and the FAA,” the museum said. 

The museum added that they will be closed until further notice.

“Yanks Air Museum will be closed until further notice as our family deals with this tragedy, and we appreciate your patience and respect for our privacy as we navigate through this difficult time,” the museum wrote. 

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating what caused the crash. 

The NTSB told FOX 11 that an investigator would be at the scene on Sunday, and that the plane would be taken to a secure facility for investigation.

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