WDRB Web producer recalls flight aboard doomed WWII bomber - WDRB 41 Louisville News

WDRB Web producer recalls flight aboard doomed WWII bomber

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When a historic B-17 bomber that dates back to World War II crashed near Chicago Monday morning, one member of the WDRB News team felt the loss more acutely than anyone else in the newsroom.

That's because he had flown in the aircraft before.

Fox41.com Web Producer Dave Creek took a media flight aboard the B-17, christened "Liberty Belle", in August 2010, when the Liberty Foundation was offering flights to the general public. As a Web producer, he shot a slideshow of images for the Web site and also wrote a first-person account of what the flight was like.

"Usually we learn about history from books or in a classroom, but sometimes we have the opportunity to learn about it in a very personal, even visceral way," Creek wrote after the trip. "Set the fun of the flight aside, and it's difficult to imagine the conditions in which our fathers and grandfathers flew missions aboard this cramped aircraft."

Click HERE to read Creek's personal account.

This morning, Creek was shocked to see images of that same aircraft in flames. The Associated Press is reporting that the Liberty Belle crashed in a corn field just outside Chicago. The FAA believes the seven people who were aboard the aircraft escaped from the crash uninjured.

Creek, who was able to pull up the images he took last year, was able to confirm that it is indeed the same aircraft.

"I saw live video on the CNN feed in the newsroom of a B-17 crash, saw that it was in the Chicago area, and looked on a Chicago TV station's Web site to find out more," Creek said. "A Web story identified the plane as the 'Liberty Belle,' and I looked at the serial number of the plane that crashed and compared it with the number of the plane I rode.  Our WDRB News slide show had a clear shot of that plane's number, and they were the same."

Creek said surprise quickly turned to relief, then to regret over what was lost.

"I was glad no one was hurt," he said. "But to lose one of these historical planes is a tragedy.  It was a concrete piece of history and riding on it was an incredible experience, and showed me how difficult and dangerous a job our airmen had during World War II."

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