Posted: Aug 19, 2013 12:40 PM by MTN News
Updated: Aug 19, 2013 2:49 PM
BILLINGS - A B-1 bomber crashed on Monday morning in a remote area of southeast Montana but the crew of four escaped with minor injuries. They were on a routine training mission.
According a spokesperson with Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota, the crash happened near Broadus in Carter County.
Residents of Ekalaka said the emergency sirens in that town were activated between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. to alert the volunteer fire department of the crash.
The Carter County Sheriff's Office has also confirmed that it is responding to the crash as well.
Ekalaka residents tell MTN that neighboring ranchers reported seeing several parachutes deploy from the plane and an explosion before the plane crashed.
Ranchers have told the residents there has been a plume of smoke rising into the sky.
Ellsworth AFB is the home to the 28th Bomb Wing. They maintain and fly 28 B-1 bombers and are home to two of the Air Force's three B-1 combat squadrons. There are roughly 60 B-1's in the U.S. Air Force fleet.
According to Ellsworth officials, two pilots and two weapon systems officers were on board. All four of the crew members ejected from the plane and survived the crash; officials believe all injuries sustained by the crew members to be minor.
"We are actively working to ensure the safety of the crew members and have sent first responders to secure the scene and work closely with local authorities at the crash site," Colonel Kevin Kennedy, 28th Bomb Wing commander, said. "Right now all of our thoughts and prayers are with the crews and their families."
Ellsworth Air Force Base said the Air Force will be conducting an investigation to determine a cause of the crash.
According to Major Tim Crow, the Montana National Guard has not been requested to support law enforcement or Ellsworth with the crash.
Photos above are from August 7th, when an Ellsworth B-1 was performing routine "touch and go" training at Logan International Airport in Billings.