Governor Thanks B17 Survivor and Responding Air National Guard Members

The governor spoke with survivor Chief Master Sgt. Jim Traficante, who was on board and off-duty during the crash.

It’s been almost one month since a B-17 crashed at Bradley International Airport, killing seven onboard and injuring seven others.

As investigators continue to look into what caused the crash, Gov. Ned Lamont thanked some of the first responders at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby who witnessed the unimaginable.

The governor also took some time to speak with survivor Chief Master Sgt. Jim Traficante, who was on board and off-duty during the crash.

“He happened to be looking in as the plane was about to take off and saw how the pilot had closed the hatch and he happened to pay attention to that fact,” said Lamont.

Traficante hasn’t wanted to speak with media since the crash, but we watched on as the Bradley Air National Guard command chief and volunteer Simsbury firefighter shared his story of survival with Lamont, bracing what appeared to be an arm injury.

“And there they were a half an hour later, he had his gloves on. The heat was in, a fire was behind them. He’s the guy who knew how to open that hatch and saved two extra lives.”

Chief Master Sgt. Robert Cross is CT Air National Guard’s fire chief.

“I didn’t know he was part of the incident. I actually thought he was one of the responders,” he said.

He said Traficante is making his way back to work. In the meantime, Cross reflected on the response.

“I think if there’s anything that might have been different was the amount of water and foam in the area which presents additional problems as far as getting into the site.”

But as for stabilizing the incident as a whole, he says working relationships made between responders in different departments locally during trainings made all the difference.

“It worked out even better than our training, so I could not have seen anything different as far as how our response went.”

Cross also thanked the responders who traveled to other emergencies locally while they were busy at the incident.

“These are the folks that stand up, put themselves at risk and saved lives that day,” said Lamont.

The investigation into what caused the B-17 vintage plane to crash continues.

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