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Contact: Mike Draper, R&R Partners (775) 336.4547 [email protected]

UPDATED INFORMATION AS OF 10:40 P.M. National Championship Air Races Official Statement on Sept. 16, 2011 Reno, Nev. ­ At approximately 4:20 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, during Unlimited Class qualifying, the P-51 Mustang "Galloping Ghost," piloted by Jimmy Leeward, crashed into the box seat area in front of the main grandstand. It is a mass casualty situation and local emergency personnel are on the scene. All emergency protocol established by the Reno Air Racing Association and local emergency responders is being followed. At this time, we do not know the status of the pilot or any of the victims involved. Though we don't have official confirmation it does appear that the pilot, a real estate developer out of Ocala, Fla. was killed in the crash. The event has been cancelled. We are working to gather more information and will release it as soon as possible. UPDATE The National Championship extends their deepest sympathies and condolences to all of the families involved in today's tragic accident. The Air Races are truly one big family and our thoughts are with all of our aviation family members, immediate and extended. While we can't confirm the number of casualties or fatalities, local hospitals and emergency response organizations are beginning to release this information. At this point, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is leading the communications and investigation of this incident and the representatives from the National Championship Air Races will not be granting any further interviews tonight or early tomorrow morning. We will work with the NTSB to hold a press update at some point tomorrow, though no time has been established. Should the National Championship Air Races have any additional information to release tonight or tomorrow morning, we will issue a statement and post this on our website. Those wishing to check on the status of loved ones should call 775.337.5800 or locally dialing 211. We appreciate all of the thoughts and support that have been extended from around the world this evening. ###


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