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Vintage Plane Goes Down In Oswego Field

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A vintage B-17 bomber burns after a crash-landing June 13, 2011 in Oswego. (ROBERT MUDRA)

A vintage B-17 bomber burns after a crash-landing June 13, 2011 in Oswego. (ROBERT MUDRA)

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UPDATED 06/13/11 7:00 p.m.

OSWEGO, Ill. (CBS) – An engine caught fire in a vintage World War II plane Monday morning, prompting its pilot to make an emergency landing in a field in Oswego Monday morning.

No one was seriously injured, but the plane, named the Liberty Belle, ended up being destroyed by the flames.

“Everything’s good,” a crew member told CBS 2’s Jim Williams hours later.

The Oswego Fire Department said the B-17 came down in a field near the intersection of Route 71 and Minkler Road in the Kendall County town, which is located about 40 miles west of Chicago.

All seven people onboard the plane got off safely, and one had minor injuries, authorities said. The injured person was treated and released from Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, according to a hospital representative.

Kevin Potts, a farmer in the area, said he saw the plane fly over. He told CBS 2 that the plane was obviously in trouble, as it was flying low and there was fire in one of the engines.

“I noticed that it was a little too low and was kind of coming down, and then I noticed flames coming out underneath its left wing,” Potts told CBS 2.

Potts said the plane appeared to be escorted by another plane.

He jumped in an all-terrain vehicle and went to the crash scene – a cornfield about two miles away.

“It’s just an amazing job by this pilot, and thank God that apparently, everyone walked away,” he said.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mke Krauser reports

After everyone left, the plane was still on fire, and fire crews from Oswego, Sugar Grove and other departments were on the scene. But they were were having difficulty getting to the crash because of “extremely wet fields,” Sugar Grove Fire Chief Marty Kunkel said.

The plane was burning in the field but it was too muddy for fire trucks to get to,” Clow International Airport Manager Joe De Paulo said.

The plane had taken off around 9:30 a.m. from the Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove. It had been built in 1944 during World War II, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

Mike Baker, of Montgomery, was at the Aurora airport on Saturday and says the plane was grounded because of a fuel leak in the same engine that burned Monday.

“One of the guys who travels with the plane said it was leaking gasoline, and you could smell it was gasoline,” Baker said.

The plane was part of the Liberty Foundation’s 2011 Salute to Veterans at the Aurora Municipal Airport.

By 11 a.m., the fire was out, but the plane seemed to have split into three pieces and smoke was still rising. Fire crews were still hosing down the demolished plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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