BURNET, Texas (KXAN) – The Bluebonnet Belle, a historic WWII-era aircraft, crashed while taking off from Burnet Municipal Airport Saturday morning.
There were 13 people on board, and a post by the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook said that all passengers survived. One person was airlifted to the hospital with “significant burn injuries” and seven others were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Federal Aviation Administration officials said the pilot of the Bluebonnet Belle veered to the left side of the runway before it hit the ground and caught on fire at 9:18 a.m. Flames also spread to nearby grass, but the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office said the fire was extinguished.
The plane, which is assigned to the Highland Lakes Squadron, was a Commemorative Air Force World War II aircraft. The plane is a total loss.
“Unfortunately, the historic aircraft will not be able to be restored. Our volunteer members work very hard to keep these aircraft flying and it is a loss for the entire organization,” Commemorative Air Force President Bob Stenevik said in a press release.
The cause of the crash is still being investigated at this time.
The C-47 Bluebonnet Belle
The plane was built in Oklahoma City in 1944 and transferred to Great Britain under the Lend-Lease Act of 1941. During WWII, the plane ran a daily shuttle service between England and France flying in cargo and passengers and evacuating casualties.
In total, Bluebonnet Belle flew 75 missions and transported 459 casualties.
In 2017, the plane was used to help transport supplies during Hurricane Harvey.