I hate to bring bad news here but one of our C-17s just crashed up here on Elmendorf taking four souls with it. This hits really close to home with me since ive actually worked on this particular aircraft and know at least one of the Airmen that died. I was at work on base about two miles from the incident when a fellow worker playing football gave us a call in the shop and said that something crashed and there was a huge plume of smoke and a fireball. Me and a fellow co-worker ran outside and saw the plume. The fellow i work with jumped in his truck and drove out towards the scene which was obviously out in the woods, and of all places where some of our ammo bunkers are. I stayed back to make and receive phone calls this whole debacle. Im pretty sure every emergency unit on base was on scene very and i mean VERY quick. The guy i work with shows back up and tells me that its all blocked off down that way. About three minutes later we see a truck with some guys with all kinds of gear and harnesses override the gate codes and drive like a bat out of hell to a position close to the hangar i work in. Seconds later an army helicopter zooms in, now mind you i see these helicopters every other day since they do exercises all the time out by out hangar. They usually come in slow and far away and taxi so a certain spot. Not this time. The chopper lands right over the truck with the rescue guys in it. They pick em up and head directly over to the crash site and im sure it wasnt but 15 minutes and here the chopper comes back and its obvious that they arent in any hurry. From this point on i understood that nobody had a chance of living that crash. I by no means know what really happened but some guys the hangar across from me saw the whole thing. The base is putting on an airshow this weekend and the C-17 guys were practicing a field maneuver of a short take off and climb and it pretty much banked left and inverted itself thus auguring itself into the ground. Let me make this clear though, this is not official, this is just what a few trusted people have said. I will say though that last week i had a big time scare because i thought one of our C-17s was going to crash. I was outside just watching the planes and of all things the same maneuver that did the crashed one in was going horribly wrong. The plane was doing a short take off and a sharp bank to the right and when he did this the wings were completely vertical and i saw the plane start to lose altitude, kind of like sliding earthward. I then heard him max the engines out and he barely got out of it. Anyways im sure there will be more information in the coming days. Id just ask you guys to keep the families of the four crew members in your thoughts and prayers.
Here is a link to what most probably will be the most current news about this.
I was a witness to this event. I was at the Boniface Gate when it went down. We were dispatched for fire support 8 minutes after the crash. But 4 min after the dispatch we were canceled. At that point I knew it was bad. The fireball was an easy 500' in the air, and the insuing smoke plum was similar to a mushroom cloud once it encountered the thermal inversion.
Wow, not good. In teresting to see what comes out of the investigation. I worked on the C-5's while in the AirForce, and had I stayed in, I probably would have worked on the C-17's. I feel bad for the families of those that were on board.
Pictures of the crash site have finally been released. Its surprising to see how little of the aircraft it left. Another oddity is the certain things that are still intact like the loading ramp and of all things two of the water jugs that sat in the corner up towards the front . One would have figured those plastic water coolers would have melted in the fire. Here is the link to the Elmendorf website with the pics.
I am a civillian and live on the other side of the Knik Arm. I saw that plane not 5 min from the crash time flying toward base in an erratic mannor and thought to myself, that plane is in trouble (was making weird engine noise and did not look like it was in control). It is so sad the pilots could not have landed on the water or ejected to avoid such a tragety. The way the plane looked from over here I was expecting a crash on this side, wish I had my camera handy for the moment, maybe could have helped with the investigation. Prayers to all the families impacted by this event.
I live out that way too, but from all i have heard the whole incident was most probably pilot error. Ever since we got these C-17s, they have been flying them like fighters. Taking off and doing some wild hot zone take off and landings. That was how they flew them EVERY time. Pulling fighter maneuvers while just doing laps around the flag. It's been close to three weeks and i haven't seen a C-17 come close to what they used to do. They fly them like they should now. The fact that we have just spent millions of dollars on two or three C-17 simulation buildings makes this whole incident even more regrettable. There was no reason to fly a heavy every time like it was a fighter, just to get seat time in. Im sure in light of this past incident those maneuvers will be practiced routinely in a simulator, not over our flight line. Its good to see our C-17s fly like they were meant to.