An Air National Guard command chief is being called a hero after he helped save several people during Wednesday’s a vintage B-17 military plane crash at Bradley International Airport
Officials told News 8 54-year-old James Traficante was sitting in the back of the plane when it experienced issues with the instrument landing system and crashed into a de-icing facility. Major General Francis J. Evon said the chief knew exactly what to do and didn’t hesitate to jump into action.
“He is very familiar with the back of an aircraft,” Evon said. ” [It was] very lucky that he had gloves on. Our understanding is he popped the hatch and was able to extract some individuals.”
The Connecticut National Guard released a statement applauding the man’s efforts, saying he brought his pair of “military issued flame-retardant flight gloves” on the flight, which allowed him to open a hatch on the aircraft and to help passengers escape from the plane after the crash.
“The Connecticut National Guard is thankful that our Airman on board the aircraft is safe,” Evon said in the statement.
“The response to the B-17 crash was a joint effort and a great example of state and local municipalities working together. We will continue to provide support any way we can,” Evon added.
The man was treated and released from the hospital.
While he was able to help save some of the passengers, at least seven lost their lives