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Pilot Dies During S.C. Air Show

November 11, 2002

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A Korean War veteran flying his World War II-era fighter in an air show crashed in the woods and was killed.

Joseph O. Tobul, 68, was flying his F4U Corsair in formation with other aircraft Sunday when smoke began to trail from the fighter, witnesses said.

The planes were going to fly over the Dorn VA Medical Center, a tribute Tobul thought up for the disabled veterans who couldn’t get to the Celebrate Freedom Festival air show.

Tobul’s son, Jim, and two grandsons were piloting three of the other planes in the formation and witnessed the crash. Jim Tobul could see his father was having engine trouble. Using his radio, he tried to help him. But it was too late.

``For him, it was an honor to fly it because it represented the heroes,″ said Jim Tobul, 45. ``This was his true passion.″

Joe Tobul, of Santee, pointed the plane into a wooded area in southeast Columbia to avoid homes that were 75 feet from the crash site, his family said.

``When everything went wrong, he did it all right,″ said Ken Breivik, a Celebrate Freedom Foundation spokesman.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

Update hourly