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"Air Show Plane Crash Kills Three"

September 26, 2006

Two men and an 11-year-old boy died when a small airplane crashed into an airport fence during an air show in Calera, Alabama.

The passengers were on an air tour in the single-engine plane when it crashed during takeoff, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

The plane went down just past the end of the runway after barely getting airborne, said Connie Smith, publicity chairman for the Birmingham Aero Club.

“It was so far down not many people could see it,” Smith said. “Some did and they said he got up a little and went back down.”

The pilot, Clayton Reues, and the two passengers – John Smitherman, and his son Landon Smitherman – died.

FAA officials and emergency crew were already present for the air show, and arrived on the scene of the crash within seconds. There was no fire. Air show activities resumed half an hour after the crash.

Officials are investigating, but the cause of the crash is not yet known.

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