Fri, Jul 06, 2012
One-Day Stand Down Lifted Wednesday
The Air Force fleet of MAFFS equipped C 130’s are back in the air fighting western wildfires after a one day grounding following a fatal accident over the weekend. Four crew members were killed and two injured when one of the aircraft went down while fighting a fire in South Dakota last Sunday.
A statement from the US Northern Command said, "Operational flying was suspended for one day to review flying and safety procedures, in the context of what is known so far about the crash." The cause of the accident is still under observation.
The crash was the first in the 40 year history of the MAFFS fleet.
The Air Force has identified those fatally injured as Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal, 42, of Mooresville, NC; Maj. Joseph M. McCormick, 36, of Belmont, NC; Maj. Ryan S. David, 35, of Boone, NC; and Senior Master Sgt. Robert S. Cannon, 50, of Charlotte, NC. The crew part of the 145th Airlift Wing with the North Carolina Air National Guard.
"Words can't express how much we feel the loss of these Airmen," said Brig. Gen. Tony McMillan, the 145th AW commander. "Our prayers are with their families, as well as our injured brothers as they recover."
The names of the injured will not be released. Both of the injured Airmen remain hospitalized.
The crew and its aircraft, along with two other 145th AS C-130s and three dozen Airmen, flew from Charlotte to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, CO, June 30 to assist with fighting forest fires in the Rocky Mountain region. They were due to move to a base in Cheyenne, WY, July 2. The crash occurred around 6:30 p.m. Mountain time near Edgemont, SD, as the crew assisted with battling what is being called the White Draw fire. The cause of the crash is unknown and is under investigation.
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue declared that flags will be flown at half staff July 3 and President Obama expressed condolences honoring the dead Airmen.
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