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C-17 down at Elmendorf


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By RACHEL D'ORO, Associated Press Writer Rachel D'oro, Associated Press Writer – 13 mins ago

Elmendorf, Alaska – The Air Force says a military cargo plane crashed Wednesday with four people on board at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage.

Air Force Capt. Uriah Orland says the conditions of the four on board was not immediately known. When asked if there were deaths, he did not answer.

The plane was from the 3rd Wing, based at Elmendorf, and Orland said it was on a local training run.

Orland says first responders were still on scene more than two hours after the 6:14 p.m. crash.

He says more information will be released later Wednesday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska National Guard says a military cargo plane has crashed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage.

Alaska National Guard spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes confirmed the Wednesday evening crash of a C-17.

No other details were immediately available, including whether there were casualties.

Military police refused to comment, and other base personnel did not immediately return messages seeking information. Hayes was en route to the base just off downtown Anchorage to coordinate with the base's public affairs officer to release further comment.

Anchorage Fire Dept. Captain Bryan Grella said his crew was just getting done with dinner at about 6:30 p.m. at the downtown fire station when something caught his eye.

"It was a big, gray plume of smoke, and I saw a fireball go up in it," he said.

The fireball extended about 750 feet in the air. He estimated the plume to be about two miles from downtown.

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From APRN:

Four crewmen were killed Wednesday evening when a C-17 cargo plane crashed after takeoff from Elmendorf Air Force Base, according to the Air Force.

Spokesmen at Elmendorf Air Force Base said this morning the names of the crew killed in Wednesday’s crash of a C-17 cargo plane might not be made public until Friday.

Three of the crew were members of the Alaska Air National Guard and the other was on active duty at Elmendorf.

Officials were discussing whether to continue with this weekend’s air show.

No other details were given about the crew or the reason for the crash which occurred about 6:14 Wednesday night.

The giant cargo plane, assigned to the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf, was training for the upcoming air show at the base, an Air Force spokesman said Wednesday night after the crash. He pointed out that there were no ejection systems on the plane.

“Our deepest sympathy and sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of those Airmen killed in this crash. Yesterday, we lost four members of our Arctic Warrior family and it’s a loss felt across our entire joint installation,†said Col. John McMullen, 3rd Wing commander in a statement released early Thursday morning.

“Right now our immediate focus is on providing all possible support to the loved ones of our fallen aviators. We are also engaged in a deliberate investigative process.â€

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The military today released the names of the crew members killed Wednesday evening in the crash of a Boeing C-17 cargo jet at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

The crew was:

Maj. Michael Freyholtz, a pilot assigned to the Alaska Air National Guard's 249th Airlift Squadron.

Maj. Aaron Malone, also a pilot assigned to the 249th Airlift Squadron.

Capt. Jeffrey Hill, a pilot assigned to Elmendorf's 517th Airlift Squadron.

M.Sgt. Thomas Cicardo, 249th Airlift Squadron loadmaster.

"We come to work with immense sorrow after four of our fellow airmen lost their lives in the C-17 crash at Elmendorf AFB Wednesday," said Brig. Gen. Charles E. "Chuck" Foster, 176th Wing commander, Alaska Air National Guard.

"They were more than valued Airmen: They were our teammates, friends, family members and fellow Alaskans. We mourn their loss and share the deep sadness of their families."

A board of officers is investigating the accident.

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