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Air Force Bomber Crashes in Indian Ocean; Crew Rescued

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2001 – An Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber crashed at about 11:30 a.m. EST into the Indian Ocean 30 miles north of the British base of Diego Garcia, Pentagon officials announced Dec. 12.

The Navy destroyer USS Russell recovered the plane's four crew members. U.S. Central Command officials had said earlier that a KC-10 refueling plane was keeping watch on the ditched crew by circling their location.

The crashed bomber is the first U.S. fixed-wing aircraft lost in the conflict.

"This underscores what we try to remember all the time," said Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke. "The men and women of the U.S. military put their lives at risk every single day. We're very grateful for that and we are thinking of them."

B-1s have been used in the skies over Afghanistan since the beginning of the campaign, officials said.

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Related Sites:
U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet: B-1B Lancer
Telephone Interview with Air Force and Navy Officers in B-1 Rescue, Dec. 12, 2001

Related Articles:
AFPS News Article: Team Effort Saves Air Force Bomber Crew

Click photo for screen-resolution imageB-1B Lancer (USAF photo by SSgt Mark Borosch)  
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