By The Associated Press

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WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut state official says seven people have died in the crash of a World War II-era airplane.    

The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.    

The B-17 carrying 13 people crashed Wednesday at Bradley International Airport after encountering mechanical trouble on takeoff.

Officials say everyone on board suffered at least minor injuries and a person on the ground was hurt as well.  

A fire with black smoke rose from near the airport as emergency crews responded. The airport said in a message on Twitter that it has closed but just before 2 p.m. the airport tweeted it has since reopened. 

 

 

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Twitter that the B-17 had been trying to land. It was civilian-registered and not flown by the military.

 

 

Airport officials said the plane was associated with the Collings Foundation, an educational group that brought its “Wings of Freedom” vintage aircraft display to Bradley International Airport this week.

A representative of the group could not immediately confirm any information about the crash. 

Antonio Arreguin said he had parked at a construction site near the airport for breakfast when he heard an explosion. He said he did not see the plane but could feel the heat from the fire, which was about 250 yards away.

“In front of me, I see this big ball of orange fire, and I knew something happened,” he said. “The ball of fire was very big.”

A smaller explosion followed about a minute after the first blast, he said. He saw emergency crews scrambling within seconds.