Moving tributes were paid to some of the seven people killed in the fiery crash of a World War II-era bomber crash as their identities emerged Thursday — along with amazing stories of heroism.
As NTSB officials returned to Bradley International Airport Thursday morning, the grieving loved-ones of a history enthusiast and also a retired police captain confirmed they were among the dead.
“The world lost an amazing person today,” wrote Debra Riddell, the widow of insurance analyst Robert Riddell, who posted a photo of himself inside the B-17 before its doomed flight.
“Rob was the best person I’ve ever known. He was my soul mate I will miss him beyond words can ever express,” she wrote in a Facebook tribute.
“He was brilliant, loving, funny, reliable, compassionate and the best man I’ve ever known.”
His stepdaughter, Jessica Darling, told WFSB that the East Granby man “died doing something that was really near to him.”
“He was a WWII enthusiast and this trip was on his bucket list to do,” she said.
Retired Vernon police Capt. Gary Mazzone — a member of the department for 22 years — was also among the dead, his family confirmed.
“I think he just wanted to see what it was like to be in the back of a B-17,” the 60-year-old’s son, Daniel Mazzone, said.
“He loved World War II. He loved people who served this country in any capacity.”
Mazzone, a father of three from East Windsor who also had two stepdaughters, worked as a prosecutor’s office inspector after leaving the force, finally retiring in January.
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