Eight spectators died, plus the pilot of a modified World War II era plane, in a crash Friday afternoon at the Reno Air Races. About 300-yards away from the impact site, two area residents: Jerry Ward and Florence Mayor Phil Brubaker. Brubaker, a pilot, said the plane lost a portion of the tail surface.
Brubaker – “And he zoomed up and then came immediately straight back down, but on a vector that shot the debris field and all the shrapnel away from the crowd which was a blessing.”(click here to listen to quote)
It could have been much worse, he said, had the plane come in at a different angle. Brubaker said the sights and sounds brought back painful memories.
Brubaker– “For me, a Viet Nam flashback with the great impact and the effect of the airplane coming in nearly vertical… but no explosion, no fire.”(click here to listen to quote)
Neither Brubaker, nor Ward were injured. They were far enough away to avoid any real danger. But, still Brubaker said, it left them shaken enough that they took an extra day in Reno before feeling comfortable enough to begin the drive home to Florence.