Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Pearl ship rescues crew
of B-1 after ocean crash

Associated Press

WASHINGTON >> An Air Force B-1B bomber flying a long-range combat mission to Afghanistan crashed in the Indian Ocean today and all four crew members were rescued, Pentagon officials said.

"The crew is reportedly in good condition," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

They were rescued by Navy destroyer USS Russell, which is based at Pearl Harbor. They apparently were in the water about two hours.

The crew declared an in-flight emergency about 100 miles north of Diego Garcia, a British-controlled island from which the plane took off, Davis said.

It was the first fixed-wing U.S. warplane to go down since the war began Oct. 7 and the first B1-B to crash on a combat mission since the supersonic long-range bomber became operational in 1987.

The B-1 has been used extensively in the war in Afghanistan, along with B-52 heavy bombers.

There was no indication of the cause of the crash, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said.

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