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Wed, Sep 28, 2011

Reno Victim Still Supports Races

Injured Woman Calls Leeward Crash 'Freak Accident'

With the future of the National Championship Air Races at Reno being questioned, at least one of those still hospitalized after the crash of the Galloping Ghost on September 16 says the tragedy should not bring an end to the event. A total of 72 spectators were hospitalized at two Reno-area hospitals. On Monday, ten were still being treated, one still listed in critical condition.

But 22-year-old Janal Hilow, who's undergoing skin grafts and other treatment for shrapnel wounds to her legs, called Jimmy Leeward's crash "just a freak accident." She tells the Reno Gazette-Journal the races should continue.

Her boyfriend, 22-year-old Eric Behne, was with her at the races when the crash happened. He says he's flown with his father since age 10, and earned his own pilot certificate two years ago. He agrees that the races should go on, and dismisses allegations from some attorneys that spectators are not aware of the risks. Behne tells the paper, “I for one know that there’s a possibility of a crash. I’ve seen a bunch of crashes since I was very young and I’ve never been concerned about it. It has never stopped me or my family from coming.

“We all know the risks, especially because there is a liability release on the back of the tickets. Most of us are pilots, especially in the box seats.

"Air race fans are very passionate and we all know how fortunate we are to have this five-day event every year. And we don’t want to lose it. I hope all the people in Reno fight for it.”



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