Two pilots were killed Sunday when their planes collided mid-flight during an air race in Reno, Nevada, authorities said.
The planes – a North American T-6G and a North American AT-6B – crashed around 2 p.m. local time on the final day of competition in the national air racing championship. Only the pilots were on board at the time of the collision, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Reno Air Racing Association identified the two pilots as Nick Macy and Chris Rushing, who died while attempting to land at the end of their race. Both of their families have been notified. The rest of the races were canceled on Sunday.
“I am completely devastated and heartbroken today. These two pilots were not only an integral part of the National Championship Air Race family, they were part of my family,” said Fred Telling, president of Reno Air Racing. Association.
According to the T-6 Racing Association, Macy was from Tulelake in northern California and flew a North American T-6G named “Six Cat.” Rushing was based in Van Nuys, southern California, and flew a North American AT-6B named “Baron’s Revenge”.
The tragic incident occurred on the final day of the famous air races, which were being held for the last time this year in Reno. The competition was held at the Reno-Stead Airport for 59 years, but the airport said it would no longer host the event “citing, among other concerns, significant growth in the area,” the Reno Air Racing Association board of directors said in March.
Over the years, the Reno Air Races have had a history of collisions. Before this weekend’s accident, at least 32 people, including many pilots, had died at the event since 1972, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.
The deadliest accident occurred in 2011, when a plane lost control and crashed to the ground near a seating area, killing a pilot and 10 spectators. Dozens more were injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating Sunday’s accident, in collaboration with the FAA and local authorities.