B-52 bomber carrying 6 crashes off Guam (Hawaii)

Honolulu (AP): An Air Force B-52 bomber carrying six crew members and en route to conduct a flyover in a parade crashed off the island of Guam, officials said.


At least two people were recovered from the waters, but their condition was not immediately available, the Coast Guard said.

Rescue crews from the Navy, Coast Guard and local fire department launched a massive aerial and ocean search for the others in and around a vast area of floating debris and a sheen of oil.

The crashed occurred at 9:45 a.m. Monday about 30 miles northwest of Apra Harbor, the Air Force said.

The accident is the second for the Air Force this year on Guam, a U.S. territory 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii.

In February, a B-2 crashed at Andersen Air Force Base shortly after takeoff in the first-ever crash of a stealth bomber. Both pilots ejected safely. The military estimated the cost of the loss of the aircraft at $1.4 billion.

The latest mishap involved an aircraft from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana as part of the Department of Defense's continuous bomber presence mission in the Pacific.

The B-52 was scheduled to fly over the Liberation Day parade, marking the day when the U.S. military arrived on Guam to retake control of the island from Japan.

The Air Force said a board of officers will investigate the accident.

The B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can refuel in mid air. Since the 159 foot-long bomber was first launched in 1954, it has been used for a wide range of missions from attacks to ocean surveillance. Two B-52s, in two hours, can monitor 140,000 square miles of ocean surface.

According to the Air Force's Web site, the B-52 Stratofortress has been the backbone of the manned strategic bomber force for the United States for more than four decades. It is capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the U.S. inventory, including cluster bombs and precision guided missiles.

Von: 21.07.2008, http://ap.google.com by Jaymes Song

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