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Death toll in Reno air race crash continues to rise, now at 11

September 20, 2011 |  4:36 pm

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Friday's crash of a vintage World War II fighter plane at the Reno, Nev., air races has claimed an 11th life, authorities said.

The higher death toll was announced in a statement Tuesday from the Washoe County medical examiner's office. But details about the death -- including the name of the victim -- were not immediately available, Michele Anderson, spokeswoman for the city of Reno, told The Times.

Authorities are still trying to determine what caused a souped-up P-51 Mustang fighter plane to plow into the ground at the National Championship Air Races, held at Reno-Stead Airport. Dramatic footage shows the plane -- nicknamed the Galloping Ghost -- flying overhead before suddenly taking a nosedive, showering the crowd with wreckage.

PHOTOS: Reno air race crash

Among the 11 killed was pilot Jimmy Leeward, 74. Dozens more were injured, and several remain in local hospitals.

A preliminary report on the cause could be released later this week, but a full-fledged investigation will take months to complete.

Identifying the dead and injured has been complicated as well.

Dozens of people were rushed to area hospitals in the wake of the crash, and the Reno Police Department received more than 1,300 calls from people looking for family members. Authorities have spent the last several days trying to connect relatives with the injured and notify the next of kin.

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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: A memorial has taken shape near the entrance of an airport in Reno, Nev., where a vintage plane crashed on Friday, ultimately claiming 11 lives. Credit: Associated Press / Paul Sakuma

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