Update: B1 Crash in Montana
For the first time in more than a decade, a B-1 Bomber crashes during a routine training mission from Ellsworth Air Force Base. The plane went down in Southeastern Montana between Broadus and Ekalaka....all four crew members on board are safe and accounted for.
The distress call came in at 10 o'clock Monday morning, with first notification of the crash coming from volunteer fire departments in Ekalaka and Broadus, Montana...who were called to the scene of the crash to extinguish the large grass fire ignited by the plane's impact and explosion. The plane was on a routine training mission...flying alongside a second B-1 Bomber in what's called the powder river training complex, or powder river mission operational area....that's a 9-thousand square mile electronic bombing range used by the air force for the full compliment of it's bombing force. Eyewitnesses report seeing the plane break up in midflight...a fact that's yet to be confirmed by air force investigators on site.
Col. TJ Goulter, Mission Support Group Commander, Ellsworth says, “That's something the investigation will determine. Eyewitnesses have stated different things I cant really speculate on that. I don’t know what the incident that occurred that caused them to say hey we need to eject and I don’t know how exactly the aircraft impacted the earth so we're going to have to wait for the safety investigation board, like i said they're is a wide area of debris."
"Immediately once we were informed that our B1 had gone down we immediately convened our crisis action team and to set up how we deal with it first and foremost and the safety of the aircrew was our primary thought so that they are indeed safe."
Though it's more than 150 miles from the Ellsworth flight line, the site of this crash is only a few minutes flight time from Ellsworth Air Force Base.