7 victims killed in crash at Nevada air race identified

National Transportation Safety Board members examine the scene of Friday's plane crash in Reno, Nevada.
Authorities have identified seven of the 10 people who died following a crash at an air show in Reno, Nevada, on Friday.

The list includes the pilot, 74-year-old Jimmy Leeward, who lost control of his vintage plane before it plummeted into a crowd of spectators.

Seven people, including the pilot, were killed on the tarmac, while three others died at area hospitals. Almost 70 people were injured.

The six others identified are Joseph Wogan, 22, of Arizona; George and Wendy Hewitt of Washington state; Regina Bynum, 53, of Texas; Sharon Stewart, 47, of Nevada; and Gregory Morcom, 47, from Washington state.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that the small World War II-era plane was equipped with data and video recording devices that they hope to use to help determined what happened and why.

NTSB member Mark Rosekind described the devices, as well as the discovery of information and pieces that may have come from the devices, as "significant new information." It was also not entirely expected, given the size and nature of the P-51 aircraft.

"I'm not aware of a lot of aircraft having it, this is the first one I came across," said Howard Plagens, the NTSB official heading the investigation.

Plagens was referring to a "box" that recorded key variables such as altitude, latitude and oil pressure. In addition, there was an outward-facing video camera on the plane, according to Rosekind.

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Several memory cards have been found at the wreckage site that may have come from either device and will be sent to the NTSB laboratory in Washington for a full analysis, Rosekind said. They may belong to some of the 200,000 spectators who were at the annual National Championship Air Races and Air Show.

Investigators do have a copy of the "box" data, since it was sent in real time by telemetry to sources outside the aircraft.

Besides the cards, Rosekind said, parts of a plane's tail, an "elevator trim tab" and video camera fragments have been found.

"There were thousands of pieces of debris," Plagens said, explaining how the site had been laid out in a grid system to help organize the investigation.

As with the memory cards, one of the authorities' first goals will be to determine whether these came from the plane. Countering earlier reports, Rosekind said Sunday that Leeward did not send a "Mayday call," indicating he was in distress.

Investigators have repeatedly stated that it is not known why the aircraft nosedived. Some speculation has surrounded the elevator trim tab, which was breaking apart prior to the crash, a photograph shows.

Investigators also will pore over "a tremendous (amount of) video that was captured" at the scene, according to Rosekind.

A preliminary report will be available Friday, but Rosekind has said the full investigation could take six to nine months.

"It's not just what happened, it's why it happened," he said Sunday. "(We're) trying to make sure this doesn't happen again."