The Pentagon said Tuesday six Americans were among 40 people killed when three Italian jets collided at an air show, one hurtling into the crowd in flames.
West German authorities said Tuesday they have identified 12 of those killed Sunday at the U.S. Air Base in Ramstein. Two days after the disaster, there were conflicting reports on the total number of dead.In Washington, chief Pentagon spokesman Dan Howard said the latest count put the number of confirmed fatalities at 40, including six Americans, four Germans, three Italians and 27 people of unknown nationality.
Of the six Americans, two were active-duty military personnel, three were dependents and one is unknown, Howard said.
He said the Defense Department was trying to resolve conflicts in the casualty counts. The latest Pentagon count also shows 363 individuals injured, of whom 41 were American and 322 German, the spokesman said.
Earlier Tuesday, West German officials said four people died overnight, bringing the death toll to 47.
Many of the dead were burned beyond recognition in the accident, the world's worst air show crash involving spectators.
Juergen Dietzen, spokesman for the Rhineland Palatinate state where Ramstein is located, said many people suffered "life-threatening injuries."
Dietzen said experts had positively identified 12 people, including the three Italian pilots. All those identified were German, he said. The U.S. Air Force issued a statement saying four injured Americans would be flown to the United States later Tuesday. The names of the four were not made public.
Brigitte De Jesus, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, said the Americans would be transported to Brooke Army Medical in San Antonio, Texas, on a medical evacuation flight.
U.S. military burn specialists from the medical center in Texas examined 12 seriously burned Americans, including several children, at the hospital in Landstuhl.
West Germany's ARD television said about 50 people were in critical condition.
A memorial service for the victims will be held Saturday in Ramstein, Hans-Juergen Vollmer, spokesman for the Kaiserslautern district government, said Tuesday.
On Monday, the government banned acrobatic performances by West German warplanes and called for the suspension of all military air shows in the country. In addition, U.S. Ambassador Richard Burt indicated the United States might ban stunt-flying exhibitions at air shows at its bases in West Germany.
West Germany and its NATO partners suspended military air shows in this nation Monday "until suggestions for effective measures are complete," said Defense Minister Rupert Scholz.
Scholz also said he was permanently barring military stunt-flying exhibitions by West German military aircraft at air shows.
"I have made the decision that aerobatic flying can no longer be considered," he told the ZDF television network Monday night. "But it is obvious that I can make this decision only for the West German armed forces."
Interviewed during the same program, Burt indicated a similar U.S. action.
"We are very open-minded about whether there will be future aerobatic shows," Burt said.
Meanwhile, John Galvin, commanding general of NATO, visited the crash site on Monday.
"We have absolutely no idea what went wrong," he said.
Sunday's accident occurred as two formations of stunt-flying jets passed each other in a complicated maneuver about 180 feet above the airfield as about 300,000 people looked on.
A solo jet coming from another direction was supposed to zoom by the two groups of planes as they passed at parallel levels, making it appear as if all three flight paths intersected.
Instead, the solo jet collided with two of other nine planes. One plunged into a forest, another onto the runway. The solo jet hurtled into a crowd of thousands of people and exploded into a ball of flames.