Posted: Aug 19, 2013 11:58 AM by MTN News - Billings
Updated: Aug 19, 2013 1:24 PM
BROADUS - A B-1 bomber crashed Monday morning in a remote area of southeast Montana, but officials say the crew of four escaped with minor injuries.
A spokesperson with Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City says the plane went down near Broadus.
Residents of Ekalaka, tell MTN that the emergency sirens in that town were activated between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. to alert the volunteer fire department of that crash.
The Carter County Sheriff's Office has also confirmed that it responded 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.
Since the crash, ranchers have told residents that there has been a plume of smoke rising into the sky.
Ellsworth AFB is the home of the 28th Bomb Wing, and they maintain and fly 28 B-1 bombers. The base is also home to two of the U.S. Air Force's three B-1 combat squadrons.
Base officials say the crash happened during a routine training mission, and that two pilots and two weapon systems officers were on board. All four of the crew members ejected from the plane survived the crash.
"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," said Col. Kevin Kennedy, 28th Bomb Wing commander. "Right now all of our thoughts and prayers are with the crews and their families."
Ellsworth Air Force Base said the USAF will be conducting an investigation to determine a cause of the crash.