4 airmen killed in cargo plane crash during training run at Air Force base in Alaska.


Authorities say all four airmen aboard a plane that crashed at an Air Force base in Alaska were killed.

Col. John McMullen says three of the men were in the Alaska Air National Guard and the fourth was on active duty at Elmendorf Air Force Base. Their names have not been released pending notification of relatives.

The plane was on a local training run Wednesday when it crashed. Witnesses say the crash sent a fireball rising hundreds of feet over the base near downtown Anchorage.

A board of military officers is investigating.

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

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AP) — A board of military officers plans to investigate a plane crash that witnesses say sent a fireball rising hundreds of feet over an Air Force base near downtown Anchorage.

The plane was on a local training run Wednesday when it crashed with four people onboard at Elmendorf Air Force Base, authorities said. They gave no immediate word on casualties.

At a press conference Wednesday night, Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins said the C-17 was not an ejection aircraft and it was "likely nobody escaped."

He had no personal information on whether there were any deaths, he said, but told reporters, "It's likely there are fatalities involved in this mishap."

Access routes to the site, which was not on a runway, were closed after the 6:14 p.m. crash.

The plane was from the 3rd Wing, based at Elmendorf, and the crash happened during a training demonstration for an upcoming weekend air show, Atkins said.

Anchorage Fire Dept. Captain Bryan Grella said his crew was just finishing 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.

The crash is the third airplane incident in Anchorage this summer. In June, one child was killed and four others burned when a small plane crashed after taking off from the city's small-airplane airport in downtown Anchorage.

Days later, a small plane landed on the busy Glenn Highway, the only highway leading north out of Anchorage. There were no injuries in the latter mishap.

Gov. Sean Parnell and Sen. Mark Begich issued statements late Wednesday expressing sadness over the crash and sending well-wishes to members of the military.

"Alaskans are very connected to the military, and our thoughts and prayers are with Alaska's Air Force family," Parnell said.

Source: AP News