How horrible. An air show stuntwoman and her pilot tragically died on June 22 in Dayton, Ohio when their plane suddenly crashed to the ground and burst into flames.
The crowd at the Vectren Air Show near Dayton, Ohio on June 22 looked away in horror as the small plane carrying wing walker Jane Wicker, 44, plunged to the ground, killing both her and the pilot, Charlie Schwenker, 64.
Jane Wicker & Pilot Die In Tragic Air Show Crash
“They were too low and too slow,” aviation photographer Ian Hoyt told The Associated Press. “Before I knew it, they hit the ground.” Ian, who is also a licensed pilot, stated that it appeared the plane stalled and didn’t have enough air speed.
Another eyewitness, Thanh Tran, said that he noticed a look of concern on Jane’s face right before the plane went down: “She looked very scared. Then the airplane crashed on the ground. After that, it was terrible, man. Very terrible.”
The biplane almost immediately burst into flames, and another witnessed reported he heard screams coming from the scene of the crash. “All of a sudden I heard screaming and looked up and there was a fireball,” Stan Thayer told the Dayton Daily News.
To the pilot’s credit, he did manage to guide the crashed airplane away from the audience before perishing himself. “Had he drifted more, I don’t know what would have happened,” Ian Hoyt said.
The deaths of Jane and Charlie were confirmed in a statement posted on Jane’s Facebook page:
It is with sad hearts that we announce that Jane Wicker and Charlie Schwenker were tragically killed while performing at the Vectren Dayton Airshow. We ask for your prayers for the families and privacy of all involved and allow them time to grieve and work through these events. No one else was involved in the accident.
Jane Wicker: ‘I’m Never Nervous’
Jane had been wing walking, the act of performing on a moving airplane, for over 10 years. She had received her pilot’s certificate in 1989 and after being gifted an aerobatic plane ride for a birthday that year, began pursuing wing walking professionally, all while working full-time as a budget analyst and freelance writer.
The divorced mother of two children expressed no apprehension about performing at the air show earlier in the week during an interview with WDTN. “I’m never nervous or scared because I know if I do everything as I usually do, everything’s going to be just fine,” she said.
To add to the tragic nature of this crash, it appears that she had recently been engaged, judging by photos from Jane’s Facebook.
This is such an awful accident — so ghastly and violent — words cannot even describe it. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Jane and Charlie.
WATCH: Jane Wicker’s Plane Crashes At Vectren Air Show (WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC)
— Andrew Gruttadaro