The crash of a North Carolina-based Air National Guard cargo plane that was fighting wildfires in South Dakota has left at least one crew member dead.
The family of Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal of Mooresville confirmed they were notified early Monday that he had died in the C-130 crash on Sunday. The 42-year-old married father of two was a veteran of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. Rose Dunlap of the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte says six crew members were aboard.
The North Carolina Air National Guard confirmed that lives were lost in the crash. Other crew members who were injured were taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital. Names and conditions have not been released.
The plane went down about 6 p.m. in the southwest corner of South Dakota, where it had been dropping flame retardant on the White Draw Fire.
The cause of the crash is under investigation and all other MAFFS-equipped C-130s have been grounded indefinitely.
The fleet is using the day to "reflect, reset and review" to make sure crews and planes are ready to participate safely in the mission.