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Air Force begins recovery of crashed A-10

Helicopter July 7, 1997
Web posted at: 3:04 p.m. EDT (1904 GMT)

EAGLE, Colorado (CNN) -- An Air Force recovery team, including explosives experts, was airlifted by helicopter on Monday to a remote mountain in the Colorado Rockies where a warplane carrying four bombs crashed three months ago.

The seven-person unit's mission is to pick up the potentially explosive wreckage of an A-10 jet and recover the remains of its pilot, Capt. Craig Button.

Button, stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, was on a training mission April 2 when the plane mysteriously veered off course.

On April 20, after an intensive search, the Air Force found the wreckage at the 12,500-foot level of Gold Dust Peak, 15 miles southwest of Vail, Colorado.

Rescue crews gathered enough material to confirm that Button was dead, but bad weather and snow on the ground prevented further recovery efforts until now.

Air Force spokesman Maj. Joe LaMarca told CNN that searchers now have three major goals: "to gather material to determine the cause of the incident," to collect dangerous explosives from the plane and to gather Button's remains.


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