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Monday
Sep192011

Plane's Video Memory Cards Could Hold Clues to Reno Crash

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(RENO, Nev.) -- The World War II-era stunt plane that crashed into a grandstand near Reno, Nevada, killing nine, was equipped with a video camera that could help investigators learn what led to the crash.

National Transportation Safety Board officials said Sunday that the airplane had a recording system, and a box containing memory cards was found at the scene of the crash.

Investigators say they'll analyze the cards to see if there is any footage that could explain what happened.

The crash happened Friday during an air race in Reno, injuring a total of 69 people seated in the VIP seats on the tarmac.  Witnesses said that as the P-51 Mustang Galloping Ghost piloted by Jimmy Leeward rounded the final clubhouse turn, something dropped off the tail of the plane, and that that may have been what caused the problem.

NTSB investigators recovered a component in the area where witnesses say they saw something drop.  Officials said it's unclear whether this is connected to the plane that crashed or another one.

The tragedy in Reno was another near miss for Commander Mark Kelly, husband of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head earlier this year in Tucson.  Kelly was scheduled to fly a P-51 similar to the one that crashed at the Reno air show, though he was not going to be racing.  He apparently did not witness the crash.

As investigators work to piece together what caused the crash, officials are also looking into another fatal air show crash this weekend.

A day after the air race crash in Reno, an antique plane crashed at an air show in Martinsburg, West Virginia, Saturday.  Pilot John Mangan was flying a 1958 T-28 Warbird when it suddenly crashed after completing an acrobatic move with another T-28.  Mangan was killed.  No other injuries were reported.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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