The Reno Air Racing Association confirmed the deaths of two pilots on Sunday after a landing collision during the National Championship Air Races.
After almost 60 years in the Nevada desert, the Reno-Stead Airport hosted its last air show, and the tragedy occurred during the final race of the five-day event, about 2:00 p.m. Nick Macy and Chris Rushing were named as the pilots by the event’s organisers.
“I am completely devastated and heartbroken today,” Fred Telling, head of the Reno Air Racing Association, said in a social media post. He thought of both of them as “skilled pilots” and as family.
After the incident, the races were put on hold. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported on Sunday that two investigators had arrived to examine the remains of the two North American T-6Gs and an AT-6B that had crashed.
Since 1964, the desert of northern Nevada has played host to the yearly air show. Over a decade ago, after many fatalities at the event, some began to wonder if the rules were stringent enough. The 2007 Reno air race was tragic for three pilots over the course of four days. And in 2011, a disaster claimed the lives of 10 spectators and a pilot, sparking an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The Reno Tahoe Airport Authority said in March that it would no longer host the event, prompting organisers to begin searching for a new location.