Flying operations for a fleet of B-1B Bombers at Ellsworth Air Force Base have been suspended. That decision was made after one of the bombers crashed Monday morning in a southeast Montana pasture.
Charred grass and rubble is all that remains from a B-1B bomber with the 28th Bomb Wing that went down near Broadus, Montana Monday. The crash sparked an immediate response from Ellsworth Air Force Base, more than 150 miles away.
"Immediately, once we were informed that our B-1 had gone down, we immediately convened our crisis action team and set up how to deal with it. First and foremost, the safety of our air crew was our primary thought," Air Force COL T.J. Goulter said.
All four crew members on board the bomber were able to eject before the plane crashed and escaped with minor injuries. Local ranchers and first responders moved to their aid quickly.
"They were right on the spot, able to help put the fires out and to retrieve our downed air crew," Goulter said.
Crash investigators are currently on the scene. In fact, our cameras were only allowed within about a mile and a half from the crash site. Their goal is to figure out what went wrong so it won't happen again.
And until more is known about the cause of the crash, the B-1s at Ellsworth will stay parked.
"We've stopped flying operations until further notice, so we'll look at this to make sure there is no other safety concern for the other aircraft that we have. As soon as we're able to do that, we'll be up and flying again," Goulter said.
The identities of the four crew members who survived the crash have not been released at this time.
The Air Force says that the investigation into the cause of the crash may take months to complete.