Fire Destroys Flying Fortress

The crew of Liberty Belle, a vintage B-17G Flying Fortress operated by the Liberty Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., declared an in-flight emergency after a fire broke out onboard the bomber aircraft shortly after takeoff from Aurora Municipal Airport, Ill. They skillfully executed a forced landing in a field near Oswego, Ill., during Monday’s incident, safely offloading the seven volunteers and crew aboard the aircraft. However, after coming to a stop, the fire, which reportedly began in one of the aircraft’s engines, spread and burned through the fuselage, destroying the historic aircraft. Officials are investigating the fire’s cause, reported the Chicago Tribune. The foundation began flying Liberty Belle in 2004, following a 15-year restoration effort. (See also Britain’s Daily Mail report.) (Liberty Foundation website)