Reno Air Crash Survivor 'Thanks God' He's Alive

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A survivor of Friday's deadly crash at the Reno, Nev., air show says he's blessed to be alive.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Noah Joraanstad told the Associated Press he watched horrified as a World War II-era plane -- known as "Galloping Ghost" -- careened toward the VIP section where he was seated.

The 25-year-old pilot said he tried to escape but was blown off his feet. The plane's shrapnel hit his back, and he was covered in aviation fuel that burned his skin.

"I think I was very, very fortunate," he told the AP. "I thank God for it."

"The shrapnel that hit me hit me right in the right spot where it just missed all my important organs and arteries and my spine," he said. "So like I said, I'm very blessed."

Nine people died when the 65-year-old plane crashed, and nearly 70 others were treated for injuries.
    
Investigators are analyzing the wreckage to determine what went wrong at the National Championship Air Races. They're focusing specifically on the tail of the high-performance aircraft.

"There are a lot of photos of specific aspects of the tail," National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind said. "We have found in the wreckage some parts of tail from the accident aircraft. We have those photos."

Still, officials say the Friday's crash could have been worse -- much worse.

"I guess God was on the people's side," said Ken Liano, a structural engineer and aircraft consultant.

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