The Latest: Wife of B-17 victim watched crash from ground

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The wife of a man who died in a B-17 bomber crash in Connecticut as she watched says she had “a really bad feeling” the plane was going to go down …

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The Latest on the crash of a World War II-era bomber in Connecticut (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

The wife of a man who died in a B-17 bomber crash in Connecticut says she had “a really bad feeling” the plane was going to go down.

Debra Ridell says she was at the airport on Wednesday to video her husband, 59-year-old Robert Ridell, take a “bucket list” trip aboard the World War II-era bomber. She told reporters Thursday that her husband texted her shortly into the trip that they were coming back, blaming “turbulence.”

But as the plane came in low and fell behind a hangar, Ridell says she was certain it was going to crash. She then recalls hearing a “really, really loud sound” followed by a huge fire ball and billowing black smoke.

Ridell says it all “just didn’t seem real.”

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3:10 p.m.

State officials have identified the people who were killed and injured in the crash of a B-17 bomber at a Connecticut airport.

The pilot was 75-year-old Ernest McCauley, of Long Beach, California, and the co-pilot was 71-year-old Michael Foster, of Jacksonville, Florida. They were killed while flight engineer 34-year-old Mitchell Melton, of Dalhart, Texas, survived with injuries.

The five passengers who were killed in the crash lived in Connecticut or Massachusetts and ranged in age from 48 to 66. Five other passengers were injured.

The plane crashed Wednesday at Bradley International Airport as it was attempting an emergency landing shortly after takeoff.

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1:50 p.m.

The family of a Massachusetts man is identifying him as one of the seven people killed in the crash of a B-17 bomber in Connecticut.

Forty-eight-year-old Jim Roberts, of Ludlow, Massachusetts, was among the victims. His brother Joe Roberts confirmed the death Thursday to MassLive.com .

The World War II-era plane was carrying 13 people when it crashed and burned Wednesday during an emergency landing at Bradley International Airport.

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12:30 p.m.

The Connecticut Air National Guard says an airman who was aboard a B-17 bomber that crashed in Connecticut opened a hatch that allowed some passengers to escape a fire.

The Guard said Thursday the airman has training and experience in handling emergencies on aircraft.

After the crash Wednesday morning at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport, he used flame-retardant flight gloves he had brought with him to open the hatch.

The airman suffered injuries and has been recovering at home since his release from a hospital Wednesday evening.

The airman is currently command chief for the 103rd Airlift Wing. His name was not released.

Seven people were killed in the crash of the World War II-era plane.

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9:40 a.m.

A former police officer and an insurance analyst were among the seven people killed in the crash of a B-17 bomber at a Connecticut airport.

State officials said Thursday that Gary Mazzone (muh-ZOHN’) died in the crash the day before of the World War II-era plane at Bradley International Airport.

The 60-year-old Mazzone, of East Windsor, retired in January as a prosecutor’s office inspector and previously was a Vernon police officer for 22 years.

The wife of Robert Riddell, an insurance company analyst from East Granby, said in a Facebook post that her husband was among those killed.

Robert Riddell had posted a photo from inside the plane just before takeoff.

The victims’ names have not been officially released, but officials and relatives are beginning to confirm some of them.

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