FROM STAFF REPORTS
BURNET — The Bluebonnet Belle, a Douglas C47 Skytrain, crashed at 9:18 a.m July 21 while taking off from Burnet Municipal Airport, according to the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office.
The crew was flying the Bluebonnet Belle to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, when the crash occurred.
According to the BCSO, all 13 of the crew survived and got out of the aircraft. One crew member “with significant burn injuries” was transported to San Antonio Military Medical Center by helicopter, the sheriff’s office posted on its Facebook page.
Ambulances transported seven other people to Seton Highland Lakes in Burnet with “minor injuries.”
The Bluebonnet Belle was built in 1944 as World War II was winding down. The Douglas C47 Skytrains, also nicknamed “Gooney Birds,” played a significant role in the outcome of the war as they served as transports. They also delivered paratroopers to drop zones, including during D-Day.
The Bluebonnet Belle, the name it received after coming to Burnet in the early 2000s, was sent to England and served in the Royal Air Force in 1945 before making its way the following year to Canada, where it served Canadian forces for many years.
In 1974, the plane began about a two-decade career as a civilian aircraft.
The Highland Lakes Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force purchased the plane, relocated it to Burnet, and donated it to the CAF. Since that time, it has become a cornerstone of the Burnet-based squadron.
Since joining the Highland Lakes Squadron, the Belle has participated in countless air shows and re-enactments. In late August and early September 2017, the Bluebonnet Belle and her crew joined Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, delivering food, water, and supplies to areas of Southeast Texas devastated by the storm.
The Highland Lakes Squadron posted on its Facebook page on Monday, July 16, that the Bluebonnet Belle was to participate in the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion as part of Daks Over Normandy, “the largest assembly of authentic C-47 military aircraft and paratroopers since that fateful day on June 6.”
The BCSO post stated that the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Aviation Administration would be handling the investigation into the Bluebonnet Belle’s crash.