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Reno air races crash: New footage shows plane slamming into ground

September 19, 2011 | 10:22 am

Reno air races crash aftermath

Dramatic new footage (below) shows the moment of impact when a souped-up P-51 Mustang crashed into the ground and exploded at the Reno air races last week, killing the pilot and nine onlookers.

An abundance of amateur footage was captured as the vintage World War II fighter crashed.  Investigators said the vintage racing plane was retrofitted with modern technological devices such as a camera positioned at the front of the plane, and also contained memory card and flight data recorder. It's unclear what information they contain.

The National Transportation Safety Board has collected all these data-recording devices, as well as debris from the scene, as investigators try to put together a timeline of what happened and what went wrong.

PHOTOS: Reno air race crash

In this latest video, aired this morning on NBC's "Today" show, the ill-fated aircraft can be seen circling overhead at a high speed as onlookers enjoy the show.  The video shows the plane plowing nose-first into the ground as people scream and begin to scatter.

The video is likely to be among many that will trickle out over the next few days, released by audience members who turned their cellphones and recording devices on the air show.

The videos and photos could also play a role in the investigation into what caused the aircraft to crash. One possible clue: Photos taken of the plane before the crash show damage to the tail section, although it is not yet known if the damage was enough to cause the plane to lose control. A preliminary report on the cause could be released later this week, but a full-fledged investigation will take months to complete.

Among those killed at the National Championship Air Races held at Reno-Stead Airport: the P-51's pilot,  Jimmy Leeward.

The toll rose to 10 Monday when another spectator, who was being treated at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center, died. Others remain in serious or critical condition.

Full coverage: Deadly crash at Reno air show

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--Rene Lynch
twitter.com/renelynch

Photo: A crowd gathers around debris after the airplane crash at the Reno air races on Friday. Credit: Tim O'Brien / Grass Valley Union/Associated Press

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