The World War II-era plane that has delighted children of all ages during the Candy Drop at the Dare County Regional Airport for the last two decades was damaged by the severe weather that has killed at least 19 people across the southeastern United States.
According to a post on the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation’s Facebook page, the Spirit of Freedom has been at the airport in Walterboro, South Carolina since departing Manteo on Dec. 18 for the installation of new tracking equipment.
A tornado ripped through the Lowcountry Regional Airport early Monday, damaging multiple buildings and aircraft including the Douglas C-54.
The same tornado killed at least one person in nearby Colleton County, according to ABC News 4 in Charleston.
“It is too early to assess the extent of the tornado damage, however, photographs reveal the leading edge of the right outerwing and the rear left center wing flap area received substantial damage,” the society posted.
“A sincere thank you to everyone for your continued support over the years to the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation to help keep the Douglas C-54 and our Boeing C-97 flying on their missions of history, education, and remembrance about the great Berlin Airlift of 1948 and 1949.”
Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen, who piloted planes like the Spirit of Freedom following World War II, brought the Candy Drop to Dare County to reenact dropping candy tied to parachutes to the children of Berlin.
Last December, Halvorsen was inducted into the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.
Those who would like to assist the society can visit http://www.spiritoffreedom.org/donate.html.
This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.