Kyril "Ky" Plaskon

 Investigative Reporting Independent Service

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Witnesses Recount Crash at the Reno Air Races
RENO, NV (IRIS) -- Hundreds of spectators who witnessed the crash at the Reno Air Races on Friday left and tried to move on with their lives, to put the unfolding tragedy behind them and search for answers. Part of that was recounting the story to whomever they could find.
A producer who works for KOLO TV was there at the time of the accident and called me an hour and a half after the crash, just to try to tell me as friend what had happened. But he was in a daze and too choked up to get out the words. "I saw it happen Ky," was about all he could say. It's not often that someone who works in the news business has difficulty recounting what they saw. It must have been horrific beyond anything I can imagine. As I soon found out, others who didn't see the close-up images that he did, are able to speak about it.

I wasn't called into work on Friday night, but as a journalist, I am always working and I was inadvertently among some of those witnesses as they tried to heal from what they saw. My wife and I were at the Ole Bridge Pub in downtown Reno at about 8 pm on Friday. All eyes were locked on the KOLO's news on a big screen TV. The sound was off on the TV as the broadcasters mouths moved between grainy images of a plane spiking into the sky then a massive explosion on the ground, ambulances and debris.

Some guys were standing there in silence watching the screen with the awe-inspiring pictures. The two men had big black 7s written on their hands and I cracked the ice by telling them there was a crash at the air races. They both whipped their eyes toward me and said, "We know. We were there." I pointed out the 7s on their hands and they said they were standing in bleacher section 7 when it happened. 

I told them I am a newscaster and told them I could probably put them on air right now, but they didn't want to be identified and refused an on-camera interview. They were however eager to talk about what they had seen. So, here is our conversation.

They said they knew the pilot of the silver Galloping Ghost, "Jimmy" through an aircraft museum that they operated. Jimmy had no medical conditions, they said, and the way the crash happened proved to them that he had some control of the plane as it went down. They said that while they were standing there in Section 7 in the bleachers the plane "had a normal mayday," flying up, to the center of the raceway and away from the crowd. But then it was suddenly headed right for them and the crowd. They barely had time to run. "I went this way and my brother went that way." 

They speculated, that at the last minute, through his small window of sight, at high speed of about 300 mph, Jimmy must have been able to see the bleachers and maneuver the plane away but he could not avoid the boxes of spectators on the ground. They said they would be surprised if the initial reports of 12 deaths turned out to be the final death toll. Regardless, they say that Jimmy's last minute move away from the bleachers saved many lives.

They also explained that this is the only real air race in the nation and that this accident puts the event in jeopardy. Federal authorities will tolerate pilot deaths but spectator casualties are another entire issue of concern that they are less likely to tolerate. They said they hope it doesn't put the air races on thin ice. For now, the NTSB has taken over the investigation, the Reno Air Races are canceled and a public memorial is being planned. 

The two witnesses I spoke to wanted the public to know, that Jimmy's last minute move spared lives and that was probably his dying thought, how to avoid as many people as possible as he plummeted toward the crowd.

Any witnesses are urged to call the KOLO-TV Newsroom at 775-858-8880

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Nation's First Cold War Memorial Groundbreaking & Book Signing

The Forest Service members of the CIA and workers from Area 51 were at Mt. Charleston outside Las Vegas for the groundbreaking of the nation's first Cold War Memorial on Saturday, November 17. This will enhance the regions international recognition for its role in America's victory in the Cold War. The Atomic Testing museum with its hands-on exhibits, the atomic test site with its bomb-ravaged structures and now the cold war memorial honoring America's heroes who lost their lives in America's longest war. Vistors can get a signed first-edition copy of Silent Heroes of the Cold War (Stephen's Press 2008) and learn more at this first public event on a multi-million dollar Forest Service project in the area.

Ky Plaskon's web archive

Children's Health Care (Live)

UNLV's 1st News Director

Artifact Theft (NPR)

Construction Defects (NPR)

Mortgage Fraud on the Rise (APM)

Muslim Radicalism (Voice of America)

Vegas Thirst for Groundwater (Living on Earth)

Computerized Voting Arrives (Voice of America)

Engineering Behind Entertainment (NPR)

Wind-powered Car (KNPR)

Industry of Prisoner Employees (KLAS)

Losing it all in Vegas (KNPR)

High-brow Brothel (KNPR)

Desert Con Had Last Word (KNPR)

Money, Blood & Children (KRNV)

Drug Cartel Kidnaps Kid (CNN)

Racist Vegas I (NPR)

Racist Vegas II (NPR)

Revolutionary Janitor (NPR)

Tax Fraud Publisher Jailed (NPR)

Yucca Mountain Gold Diggers (NPR)

U.S. Artifact Plundering (NPR)

Vegas Limits Water Use (NPR)

Torrential Vegas Floods (NPR)

Vegas Police, Wrongful Death Suit (KLAS)

UNLV President Resigns

Sales of Kyril Plaskon's Silent Heroes of the Cold War supports

National Cold War Memorial

The Impact of Governme Secrecy.
Silent Heroes of the Cold War book cover
Only American Account of Transgenerational War Trauma. Click on the Pic for the title at Amazon

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Ky Plaskon * Phone: (775) 287-0302