Ed Larson and his wife, Sherry, described in detail the violent air race plane crash that killed at least nine people Friday and left him hospitalized.A lot of Germans saw P-51s coming straight at them and they weren't so lucky.
Sitting in a wheelchair and assisted by nurses at a Sunday afternoon news conference at Reno's Renown Regional Medical Center, Larson said he was grateful to survive, escaping with a severed Achilles tendon, a severe leg wound, a dislocated shoulder and head injuries that required a volley of stitches.
Larson, 59, a telecommunications entrepreneur, was standing near pit row in box No. 50 and talking to a fellow fan when he heard the audience groan and followed their eyes to the sky. There, he watched the Galloping Ghost suddenly pitch upward.
“The plane was above us to the left and I could see it,” he said. “You kind of get a feeling, the way I was looking at it, that there’s something wrong. It just looked like there was lack of control or something was wrong.”
Within seconds, the P-51 Mustang was headed straight for him.
“A lot of the guys hit the deck,” he said. “I ran.
“A second later, the thing crashed right behind me. All I remember is trying to run. I saw stuff coming and that’s the last I remember.”
Debris hit his head, knocking him unconscious, he said. Larson was evacuated on the same military helicopter he had admired in an earlier demonstration at the event.
“It was surrealistic that you’d see something like that,” he said. “I’m really lucky to be here.... It makes you appreciate to be alive.”
I hope the races go on and they don't put so many restrictions on the flight line that spectators won't be able to see anything. It was a freak accident and one that's not likely to be repeated.