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Air Races issues official statement on crash

By ThisIsReno

SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE

At approximately 4:20 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, during Unlimited Class qualifying, the P-51 Mustang “Galloping Ghost,” piloted by Jimmy Leeward, crashed into the box seat area in front of the main grandstand. It is a mass casualty situation and local emergency personnel are on the scene. All emergency protocol established by the Reno Air Racing Association and local emergency responders is being followed. At this time, we do not know the status of the pilot or any of the victims involved.

Though we don’t have official confirmation it does appear that the pilot, a real estate developer out of Ocala, Fla. was killed in the crash. The event has been cancelled and the memorial will be held for the pilot at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17 in the Galloping Ghost pit at the Reno-Stead Airfield.

Concerned family members should call 775.972.6663 and Air Race staff is working to locate and establish the status of all involved. A press conference has been scheduled for 7 p.m. PT at the media center at the National Championship Air Races.

We are working to gather more information and will release it as soon as possible.

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A video of the crash is on Youtube (may not be suitable for all audiences):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCNePeKn3Tg&feature=player_embedded