4 survive B-1B bomber crash in Kentucky
February 18, 1998
Web posted at: 4:49 p.m. EST (2149 GMT)
MARION, Kentucky (CNN) -- A B-1B "Lancer" bomber crashed in rural Crittenden County in western Kentucky Wednesday while on a training mission, the Pentagon said.
Kentucky state police said four people survived. The plane typically carries a crew of four.
The plane crashed about 50 miles northwest of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the Air Force said.
The bomber can carry nuclear weapons, but the Pentagon said none were aboard. The plane was not among those being prepared for use in the Persian Gulf.
State police said there were conflicting reports about how the plane crashed. Some witnesses said it exploded in the air and debris rained down, but others said the plane hit a hillside in rain and low cloud conditions.
Boyd said the crash occurred in a very rural area near Marion and that crash debris was spread out over a wide area.
State police were assisting in securing the crash site area, state police Sgt. Carolyn Boyd said. "We're securing the scene for the military until the Fort Campbell people can get there," she said.
The plane is part of the 7th Bomber Wing flying out of Dyess Air Force Base in Texas and was on a "routine training mission."
The B-1B is a swept-wing, long-range heavy bomber with four engines and a top speed of 900 miles per hour.
It was the second crash of a B-1B in the United States in five months. The fiery crash of a bomber September 19 in Montana killed all four crewmen and the Air Force later blamed pilot error for the crash of the plane, based at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.
That earlier crash was one of a series of U.S. military air mishaps at the time that resulted in a 24-hour grounding of most of America's warplanes to review safety procedures.