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Air Force C-130 Plane Crashes Fighting South Dakota Fire

C-130 fighting the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado
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Above: C-130 fighting the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado

An Air Force C-130 plane crashed Sunday evening while fighting the White Draw fire in South Dakota. The condition of the six crew members on board has not been released, but the Air Force has reported there were casualties in the crash:

[O]ur thoughts and prayers go out to those who were injured and those who lost their lives. The family members of these Airmen are especially on our minds. We will provide further details on the status of the casualties soon.

Fall River County Sheriff's Office told the Rapid City Journal that a helicopter was able to rescue three crew members, who were eventually transported by ambulance to Rapid City Regional Hospital for treatment.

The C-130 crew was from the North Carolina Air National Guard 145th Airlift Wing.

The Department of Defense announced this afternoon that all military C-130 aircraft "equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System" will be grounded until further notice.

According to the Air Force, a C-130 equipped with a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System...

...is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

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