C-17 crashes near air force base in Alaska

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thirteen C-17 Globemaster III aircraft fly over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia during low level tactical training Dec. 20, 2005. The C-17 involved in the crash was practicing for an air show.
Image: Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey, U.S. Air Force.

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, operated by the United States Air Force, crashed on Wednesday near Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska at about 6:15 pm (0215 Thursday UTC), killing all four crew members. The plane was practicing for the 2010 Arctic Thunder air show.

These facts were confirmed by Air Force Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, Commander of Alaskan Command NORAD, in an impromptu press conference later in the evening. Col. John McMullen, commander of the 3rd Wing (under whose authority the plane belonged), announced the four deaths on Thursday. Three were members of the U.S. Air National Guard, one was active duty. Names are being withheld pending the notification of family members.

The Elmendorf base is near Anchorage, Alaska, and the fireball and plume were visible from that city's downtown. "It was a big, gray plume of smoke and I saw a fireball go up in it," said Anchorage Fire Dept. Captain Bryan Grella in an interview with the Associated Press.

The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft is designed for rapid response strategic airlift, medical evacuation, and airdrop roles, carrying cargo and troops. The aircraft are used by the United States, the United Kingdom, NATO, Australia, Canada, and Qatar.