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Air Force Plane Crash During Training Exercise Kills 3 Airmen in NM

Air Force Plane Crash During Training Exercise Kills 3 Airmen in NM
The Air Force plane crash killing three airmen involved a U-28A plane like this one. (Photo via U.S. Air Force)

By    |   Thursday, 16 March 2017 05:53 AM

An Air Force plane crash during a training exercise Tuesday evening killed three airmen near Clovis Municipal Airport in New Mexico Tuesday evening.

The airmen from the 318th Special Operations Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis, New Mexico, were in a U-28A when the accident occurred.

The special operations group uses several types of aircraft to perform missions that include insertion and removal of personnel, combat support, aerial refueling of helicopters, close air support and drone operations, according to The Associated Press.

The victims' names have not been released yet pending notification of family, the Air Force said.

"We are deeply saddened by this loss within our Air Commando family," Col. Ben Maitre, the installation commander, said, according to KOAT-TV. "Our sympathies are with the loved ones and friends affected by this tragedy, and our team is focused on supporting them during this difficult time."

The plane crashed in a field about a quarter-mile from the municipal airport about 6:50 p.m. and caused a fire that was put out about 7:40 p.m.

An investigation into the accident is underway.

Clovis Municipal Airport director Kyle Berkshire told KOB-TV the plane performed practice maneuvers called "touch and goes," where the aircraft will touch the runway but does not come to a complete stop.

"The U-28A is a reliable, safely performing airplane that we fly thousands of hours on," Maitre said during a news conference Wednesday. "This is the first mishap in quite some time."

The U-28A aircraft provides manned on-call/surge capability for improved tactical airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in support of special operations forces, according to the Air Force.

Cannon Air Base has about 5,800 military personnel and civilian employees, according to The Associated Press.

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An Air Force plane crash during a training exercise Tuesday evening killed three airmen near Clovis Municipal Airport in New Mexico Tuesday evening.
air force, plane, crash, kills, airmen
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2017-53-16
Thursday, 16 March 2017 05:53 AM
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