A budget analyst,Jane WickerÂ previously admitted that she realized a risk when she signed up to entertain thousands of spectators at the Vectren Air Show near Dayton on Saturday.
The woman said in a TV interview she felt confident of her abilities and claimed on her website that lots of practice makes her signature stunt a “managed risk.”
Jane planned to hang underneath the plane’s wing by her feet and sit on the bottom of the airplane while it was upside-down, reports Yahoo! News.
It wasn’t clear what went wrong. The small plane glided through the sky, rolled over, then crashed and exploded into flames, killing the wing walker and the pilot.
A video posted on WHIO-TV shows the biplane turning upside-down as Jane sits on top of the wing. The vechicle then falls on the groung and crashes to the ground, erupting into flames not far from the horrified crowd.
Ian Hoyt, an aviation photographer and pilot, attended the show with his girlfriend. He was taking photos when the plane passed by and had just raised his camera to take another shot.
“Then I realized they were too low and too slow. And before I knew it, they hit the ground,” he said.
The witness couldn’t tell exactly what caused the tragedy. He only suggested that the biplane stalled and didn’t have enough air speed. However, Ian praised the pilot for steering clear of spectators and potentially saving lives.
“Had he drifted more, I don’t know what would have happened,” Hoyt said, adding that he had been excited to see the show because he’d never seen wing walker Jane Wicker in action.
According to the air show’s official site, her act involved “climbing, walking, and hanging all over her beautiful 450 HP Stearman aircraft â€¦ with no safety line and no parachute”.
One more witness of the terrible accident, Thanh Tran of Fairfield, said he could even see a look of concern on the wing walker’s face just before the plane went down.
“She looked very scared,” he said. “Then the airplane crashed on the ground. After that, it was terrible, man … very terrible.”
The show was canceled for the rest of the day, but organizers promised to resume events on Sunday and follow the previous schedule and normal operations. TheÂ National Transportation Safety BoardÂ said it is investigating the crash.
A statement on the show’s website said: “The accident was isolated and no other injuries were reported. FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] and other officials are on site investigating the incident. Air show officials have announced that the Saturday show flying operations have been cancelled and normal operations will resume on Sunday.”
T heair show was later reopened with a moment of silence Sunday.
“As a pilot, you accept the fact that accidents do happen â€” it’s an accepted risk we take,” said John King, president of the Flying Circus Airshow, which employed Wicker.
“They were both dedicated to flying and the act. They were true, ultimate professionals,” King said. “I don’t know of anyone who could have done any better than what they were doing.”