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BREAKING UPDATE 4pm 7-21-08 2 Killed; 4 Missing in Barksdale B-52 Crash; S&R Continues
Col. Robert Wheeler, 2nd Bomb Wing commander, this morning called last night’s Barksdale B-52 bomber crash near Guam a “mishap” but said he knows little else about the missing aircraft.
Wheeler said information on the tail number of the airplane and the crew members isn’t being released at this time, while efforts to find the personnel are underway.
Coast Guard Lt. Lee Putnam told Guam TV station KUAM that searchers are 25 nautical miles northwest of Apra Harbor and that the Coast Guard Cutter Assateague was called to respond, as well as four other boats. The station also said two Navy HSC25 aircraft are in the area searching crew members.
At the time of crash, weather in Guam was generally warm humid and fair, with isolated moderate rain showers and winds from the southeast at 5 to 10 mph.
“We don’t have a lot of facts at this point,” Wheeler said at a news conference. The B-52 bomber deployed to Andersen Air Force Base is feared lost in the Pacific waters northwest of Guam.
Maj. Stuart Upton, a Pentagon spokesman, said the aircraft was unarmed, according to the Associated Press.
The loss happened just before 10:30 a.m. Monday, Guam time, or around 8:15 p.m. Sunday here. That was when Wheeler said he learned of the incident and efforts under way to find any wreckage and crew members.
Wheeler said the bomber was flying in a training mission and was scheduled to perform a flyover celebrating Guam’s Liberation Day which commemorates the U.S. capture of Guam from Japan in 1944 .
Guam is across the international date line, and about 15 hours ahead compared to Louisiana time. They fly continuously," Wheeler said. "That's a very active area."
The B-52 was in Guam as part of a four-month rotation, said Capt. Joel Stark, a spokesman for Andersen Air Force Base. Guam is a U. S. territory located about 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii.
In February, a B-2 stealth bomber crashed shortly after takeoff from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. Two crew members ejected and were in good condition afterward.
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