Kyrgyzstan: US Air Force Stratotanker refueling plane crashes, 3 crew missing. Search ongoing – 030513 1915z

The US-run Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan has confirmed that a US refueling plane crashed after taking off from the base on Friday, saying the fate of the crew remains unknown.

Friday, 03 May, 2013 at 15:58 (03:58 PM) UTC RSOE

The plane that crashed near Chaldovar village was American air fuel tanker, press service of the Ministry of Transport of Kyrgyzstan reported. According to its information, the plane departed from the Transit Center at Manas at 2.30 p.m. in Bishkek and got lost in this area.

Search for the plane is underway.

Chaldovar N 43 3.618, E 74 28.147

Updated: Friday, 03 May, 2013 at 16:01 UTC RSOE

Other Reports

U.S. Military Aircraft Crashes in Kyrgyzstan

(Video credit:YouHotNews) Published on 3 May 2013

(NBC) A U.S. Air Force refueling plane crashed Friday in Central Asia, the military said. There was no immediate word on casualties.

The plane, a KC-135, crashed in northern Kyrgyzstan and was based at the U.S. military installation at Manas, near the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek. Its mission is to refuel combat planes on patrols over Afghanistan.

The KC-135 usually has a crew of three.

Military officials were investigating eyewitness reports that the plane was on fire before it crashed. They were also looking into the possibility that the plane blew an engine or struck a bird.

“I was working with my father in the field, and I heard an explosion. When I looked up at the sky I saw the fire. When it was falling, the plane split into three pieces,” Sherikbek Turusbekov, who lives nearby, told The Associated Press.

On Monday, seven people were killed when an American civilian cargo plane, a Boeing 747, crashed shortly after taking off from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. It belonged to National Air Cargo, an upstate New York military contractor.

Six of those killed were from Michigan and the seventh from Kentucky, the company said. The Taliban claimed responsibility, but NATO quickly said that the claim was false and that there was no sign of insurgent activity at the time of the crash.

The United States leases the Kyrgyz installation for about $60 million a year. The contract is up in July 2014.

Other Reports

“BISHKEK, May 3 (RIA Novosti) A US military Boeing KC-135 refueling aircraft crashed in a mountainous area in Kyrgyzstan for unspecified reasons on Friday, the United States Air Force said.

“A US Air Force KC-135 tanker aircraft crashed today in northern Kyrgyzstan,” the US Air Force’s 376th Air Expeditionary Wing based in the country said.

The Boeing KC-135, also known as the Stratotanker, crashed into a mountain gorge about 60 kilometers (36 miles) west of the capital Bishkek, a Kyrgyzstan Interior Ministry spokesman told RIA Novosti.

Kyrgyz news website kloop.kg showed photographs of fragments of the aircraft displaying its tail number, AMC 38877.

The fate of the crew remained immediately unclear. “Emergency response crews are on scene. The status of the crew is unknown,” the US Air Force said.

The head of the local emergencies ministry, Kubatbek Boronov, said there were three crew on board the plane, who have not been found.

Local law enforcement officials told kloop.kg they had likely been killed in the crash. Locals reported seeing no parachutes in the vicinity of the incident. The Stratotanker usually has a crew of three, pilot, co-pilot and boom operator.

Local residents cited by Kyrgyz and Russian media gave conflicting versions of the incident, with some saying the aircraft fell apart in the air and others claiming it blew up on impact.

The cause of the crash was also unclear, though the burning debris covered a wide area, with the main part of the fuselage falling far from the tail, a kloop.kg correspondent at the scene reported. He said the aircraft’s nose section, which houses two of the crew, had not yet been reached as it is some distance away in the mountains.

“The ground around the aircraft fragments is totally burned and there is a strong smell of fuel in the air,” he said.

An employee at Manas airport told RIA Novosti that the crew of the aircraft had reported bad weather and thunder in the area at the time and had asked for permission to fly around towering cumulus clouds en route.

The Stratotanker was attached to the US Air Force base in Manas, Bishkeks international airport. The base provided transit for American forces in Afghanistan since 2001, but is due to be shut down in 2014 because the Kyrgyz government refused to extend the lease.

One of the oldest designs flying in the USAF, the KC-135, derived from the Boeing 707 civil airliner, first entered srervice in 1957. It is due to be replaced by Boeing’s KC-46.

According to the online airrefuelingarchive, and a historical study of KC-135 accidents by Chris Hoctor, a retired USAF Master Sergeant, the last crash of a KC-135 was in 1999.

(Updated at 6.42 p.m. with weather conditions reported and Kyrgyz emergencies ministry saying three on board. Also corrects KC-135’s usual number of crew from five to three).” – en.rian.ru

Goaty's News welcomes your replies. Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s