Daredevil pilot killed as plane engulfed in fireball inferno during air race

A pilot was killed after his plane hit the ground and burst into flames during an air race in Reno, Nevada, US on Sunday (September 18).

The incident, which caused one fatality, was captured on a YouTube live stream, where astounded viewers watched in horror as the plane hit the ground and caught fire, bouncing a few times before it came to an abrupt halt.

One commentator said: "Oh no, oh no," before the second chimed in: "We’ve had a catastrophe here."

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Chairman of the Reno Air Races, Fred Telling, confirmed there was a “fatal accident” during the third lap of the Jet Gold Race.

Telling said the crash happened near a pylon used to mark the flight track during the race.

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration said the Aero L-29 Delfín crashed behind a residential area in Reno at about 3.45 pm local time.

Race controllers announced a "red flag" following the ordeal and all other planes were grounded.

The pilot's name has not yet been revealed.

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"As you can appreciate, at this moment in time, there’s actually very little specific data that we can provide," Telling said at a news conference following the incident.

"However, we can confirm that during the Jet Gold Race on the third lap, there was a fatal accident at outer pylon five today.

"There will be a detailed investigation conducted by the NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] and the Federal Aviation Administration. All other pilots landed safely, and race operations were shortly thereafter curtailed and suspended.

"I personally, and we as a board, express our deepest sympathies with the pilot’s family and friends, as well as the racers and the race fans who make up our family."

The Washoe County Sheriff's Office responded to the incident.

The Sheriff's Office said: "The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is responding to an Air Races related plane crash in the area of 13945 Red Rock Road. Please avoid the area."

The Reno Air Races are an annual event that see various types of plane compete for supremacy every September.

The event typically draws over 150,000 pilots and spectators from across the world each year.

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