July 2, 2012
The Air Force says some crewmembers died in the crash of a C-130 aircraft while battling a wildfire in southwestern South Dakota on Sunday night.
Three of the six crewmembers were hospitalized, the Rapid City Journal reports. No specifics yet as to the exact number of dead and injured. The family of a lieutenant colonel from North Carolina confirmed that he died in the crash.
The plane was attached to the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte.
ON Monday afternoon, the Pentagon temporarily grounded the aircraft from firefighting duties.
Update at 8:45 p.m. ET: The Charlotte Observer has background on 42-year-old Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal of Mooresville, N.C., who died in the crash. He flew C-130s in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the Air Force has not yet said whether he was piloting the plane that crashed Sunday while fighting the White Draw Fire.
Mikeal was anticipating returning home later this week to celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary with his wife and their 15-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son. His mother-in-law described him as “a real family man.”
In an interview Saturday with Examiner.com, Mikeal mentioned the dangers of fighting the devastating wildfires in Colorado.
The Observer also reports that a second local Air Guardsman was killed and another was injured Sunday night.
Update at 8:10 p.m. ET: The blog Wildfire Today is reporting that the U.S. Forest Service says four crewmembers died and two were injured. Still no confirmation.
What caused the plane to crash is still unknown, but Wildfire Today noted a Forest Service report that the lead Bureau of Land Management plane, flying directly ahead of the C-130 Hercules, “experienced a severe downdraft while approaching the intended retardant drop zone” in the Black Hills about 5 miles northeast of Edgemont.
Update at 4:53 p.m. ET: President Obama has issued a statement of condolences, our colleagues at The Oval report.
Update at 4:23 p.m. ET: Military C-130s activated to help fight fires in the West will not fly today, the Pentagon says.
The aircraft have been placed on “operational hold” so crews can “reflect, reset and review,” said Col. Jerry Champlin, commander of the 153rd Air Expeditionary group, The Argus Leader reports.
Seven planes have been grounded, the paper says.
Although the military has not yet announced how many crewmembers died, the family of Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal of Mooresville, N.C., confirmed to the Associated Press they were notified early today that he had died in crash. [Correction: Initial post stated it was confirmed to The Argus Leader.]
The fatality is the first in the 40-year history of a joint program between the Forest Service and the Department of Defense to fight wildfires.
Update at 3:13 p.m. ET: The Air Force now confirms there were fatalities but has not said how many, according to The Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, published by USA TODAY’s parent company, Gannett.
“There were casualties, and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were injured and those who lost their lives,” the Air Force said in a release. “The family members of these Airmen are especially on our minds. We will provide further details on the status of the casualties soon.”
Original post by Douglas Stanglin:
Update at 1:54 p.m. ET: The North Carolina Air National Guard says six crewmembers were aboard, the Associated Press reports. The C-130 is part of the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte.
Military officials say the plane crashed after dropping fire retardant Sunday in the Black Hills.
Original post: The Journal reports that a helicopter transported the injured to a hospital in Rapid City.
The C-130, which normally carries a crew of six, was supporting efforts against the White Draw Fire when it went down, according to the Air Force’s United States Northern Command.
The Associated Press reports that the C-130 Hercules plane was from a Charlotte-based Air National Guard unit.
It was equipped with a modular airborne firefighting system, which can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide, according to the Air Force.
The White Draw Fire — one of dozens that crews are battling in the West — had grown to 3,000 acres by Sunday night and was only 10% contained.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
how he lost his heart’s desire = PL = 73 = Material hardship.
comprehensive summary and list of predictions for 2012:
discover some of your own numerology for FREE at:
learn numerology from numerologist to the world, Ed Peterson:
Sex Numerology available at: