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American B-52 bomber crashes on Guam

All seven crew members have made it out safely after their B-52 bomber crashed on the island of Guam shortly after take-off, the US Air Force said.

The plane aborted on take-off and caught fire at about 8.30am Guam time, Pacific Air Forces public affairs said. It crashed on the flight line of the base. No injuries were reported.

"We are thankful that the air crew are safe," Brigadier General Douglas Cox, 36th Wing Commander, said.

"Because of their quick thinking and good judgment in this emergency situation, the air crew not only saved their lives but averted a more catastrophic incident."

The air force said there was no danger from any of the plane's armaments.

A US military spokesman said: "The aircraft was carrying inert munitions at the time and posed no danger to the local community."

The US Air Force website says the aircraft is capable of carrying nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance.

The bomber was deployed to Guam from Minot, North Dakota, as part of the military's continuous bomber presence in the Pacific, according to the force. The crew members are with the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and were performing a routine training mission, it said.

The incident is under investigation. The US Air Force is taking steps to mitigate any possible hydraulic oil and fuel contamination, said Captain Ray Geoffroy, spokesman for Pacific Air Forces. The plane was taking off with a full load of fuel.

Environmental specialists are also assessing any potential impacts to the environment from burning aircraft materials.

The US Air Force said emergency responders and law enforcement officials had completed their initial checks.

It said it has been rotating B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers through Guam since 2004 to boost the US security presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

A B-52 crashed off Guam in 2008, killing all six crew members on board. That plane had been flying around the island as part of Guam Liberation Day celebrations, marking the day when the US military arrived to retake control of the island from Japan during the Second World War. The B-52 had been scheduled to conduct a flyover in a parade.

Guam is a US territory 3,700 miles south-west of Hawaii.


From Belfast Telegraph