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WWII-Era B-17 Bomber Crashes In Illinois; Seven On Board Said To Be OK

"A vintage World War II bomber crashed and burned in a field southeast of Aurora Municipal [Ill.] Airport this morning," the Chicago Tribunewrites, "but the seven people on board escaped without injury, according to aviation officials."

The Chicago Sun-Times says that the plane, "built in 1944, took off from Aurora Airport in Sugar Grove at 9:30 a.m. [CT] Monday and landed in a field about 5 miles from the airport just a few minutes later, according to FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory."

Jim Barry, who lives near the crash site, tells the Tribunethat flames and smoke were coming from the bomber's left side as it approached the field. According to the Tribune:

"The pilot managed to set the plane down in a gap between a relay tower about 60 to 70 feet high and a line of trees 25 to 30 feet high — around 500 yards from his home. 'He did a great job,' Barry said."

Some videos said to have been taken at the scene are already showing up on YouTube.

According to the Sun-Times, "the plane was part of the Liberty Foundation's 2011 Salute to Veterans at the Aurora Municipal Airport." The local Beacon News says the bomber was called the Liberty Belle.

Update at 1:30 p.m. ET.Our friend bob Collins of Minnesota Public Radio flew aboard the Liberty Belle a few weeks ago and posted a video of his trip aboard the "fine, old machine."

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