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Death Toll Rises In Reno Air Race Crash

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RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nine people have died in a crash of a World War II-era plane at a Nevada air race.

Reno police say seven were killed on the tarmac, including the 74-year-old pilot, and two others died at hospitals. Dozens were injured.

The pilot, Jimmy Leeward, of Ocala, Fla., was a veteran airman and movie stunt pilot who named his P-51 Mustang fighter plane “The Galloping Ghost.”

Investigators say they are examining the site, gathering information and are encouraged by the large number of photos and videos available to them. They have not speculated on a cause but organizers point to a possible mechanical failure. Pictures and video appear to show a piece of the plane coming off before it crashed.

As of this afternoon, 40 of the 69 people injured enough to be treated at hospitals had been discharged. The conditions of those still held: eight are critical; nine, serious; 10 fair; two good.

Organizers say before Friday’s accident, 19 people had been killed at the National Championship Air Races since their start in 1964, and they were all pilots.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

(Photo Courtesy AP)

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