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© Unknown
Flames ... Liberty Belle B-17 bomber on fire after crash-landing

Seven passengers miraculously survived after this World War 2 bomber turned into a mid-air fireball.

The B-17 Flying Fortress caught fire and crash-landed in a field near Aurora, Illinois, shortly after take-off.

The pilot of the vintage plane reported an engine fire 20 minutes after the aircraft left Aurora Airport, near Chicago.

The plane ploughed into a cornfield - but the seven people on board, including the two pilots, were able to escape without serious injury.
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Wreckage ... bomber lies in field ravaged by flames

One person suffered minor injuries while scrambling from the wreckage.

Officials said the B-17 bomber - believed to be the Liberty Belle - was en route to Indianapolis.

They added the restored bomber crash-landed in the field just outside Oswego city limits and was completely destroyed.

Emergency crews raced to the scene but could do little to save the bomber which was built in 1944.
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© Associated Press
Flying Fortress ... the Liberty Belle before the disaster

Several residents reported seeing the plane flying low with flames coming out of it.

The Liberty Belle was modified to allow the public the opportunity to ride in the classic bomber with each flight costing £260.

Aviation enthusiasts as well as WW2 veterans often took the chance to ride in the bomber which got its name, the Flying Fortress, from the heavy number of guns mounted on the fuselage.

The majority of the B-17s were based in the UK during the war and took part in daylight raids on Germany.

There are only 15 Flying Fortress bombers that are still airworthy and tour air shows in the US and worldwide.