(Updated June 4, 2011 at 6:44PM) More bad news for the warbird community: a B-25 Mitchell crash-landed on May 31st, 2011, in France near Melun-Villaroche, south-east of Paris. It appears the B-25 is F-AZZU, s/n 44-58811, which is known as “Russell’s Raiders” and is well known in France due to its regular appearances at the La Ferté airshow
Shortly after takeoff, fire erupted in the right engine. The propeller for that engine had been replaced just before the flight. The crew cut off the fuel feed to the right engine and kept it running to empty the remaining fuel in the pipes, while searching for a suitable crash-landing field. A return to Melun airport was considered too risky. During the descent, the aircraft cut some electrical cables and landed wheels-up in a field in Moissy-Cramayel.
The pilot and copilot were able to exit the aircraft on their own and appear to be unharmed. Emergency services were quickly on the scene to stop the ensuing fire. The extent of the damage to the aircraft is unknown.
NB: a gallery of pictures of the crashed aircraft has been found by one of our visitors. (See comments below). The damage does seem quite extensive.
Sources (with photos of the crash site):