Aug 20, 2013

B-1 bomber crashes in southeast Montana

B-1 bomber crash
B-1 bomber crashes in southeast Montana. A B-1 bomber crashed this morning in a remote area of southeast Montana, but the crew of four escaped with minor injuries.

According a spokesperson with Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City the crash happened Monday morning near Broadus. Two pilots and two weapon systems officers were on board, a base spokesman told CBS station MTN in Missoula, Montana. All four of the crew members ejected from the plane survived the crash.

Few other details are available at this hour. Ellsworth AFB is the home of the 28th Bomb Wing. They maintain and fly 28 B-1 bombers and are home to two of the Air Forces's three B-1 combat squadrons.

"We are actively working to ensure the safety of the crew members and have sent first responders to secure the scene and work closely with local authorities at the crash site," said Col. Kevin Kennedy, 28th Bomb Wing commander. "Right now all of our thoughts and prayers are with the crews and their families."

There are roughly 60 B-1's remaining in the U.S. Air Force fleet.

Residents of Ekalaka, tell MTN that the emergency sirens in that town were activated between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. to alert the volunteer fire department of that crash.

The Carter County Sheriff's Office has also confirmed that it is responding to the crash as well.

Ekalaka residents tell MTN that neighboring ranchers reported seeing several parachutes deploy from the plane and an explosion before the plane crashed.

Since the crash, the ranchers has told the residents there has been a plume of smoke rising into the sky.

Ellsworth Air Force Base said the Air Force will be conducting an investigation to determine a cause of the crash.