(UnitedHeadlines.com) – Four crew members ejected from a B-1 Lancer from South Dakota’s Ellsworth Air Force Base after it crashed during a training mission Jan. 4.
The accident caused three crew members to suffer minor injuries, which were treated on the base. One of the crew members was hospitalized after suffering non-life-threatening injuries in the crash.
The $317 million bomber crashed “while attempting to land,” according to a statement from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth. When the crash occurred, the National Weather Service had reported freezing conditions, low clouds and low visibility in the area. The statement added that the accident will be under investigation by “a board of officers.” As part of the investigation, the South Dakota Wing, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) performed drone and aircraft photography documentation on Jan. 6 over the base.
Commander of the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Col. Derek Oakley offered his thoughts and prayers to the crew members and their families.
The crash caused reports on social media of an “active fire” and an “explosion” at the base. Box Elder Public Information Officer Derek Wingfield said the crash did not affect any land outside the base.
The B-1, a supersonic conventional bomber that was nuclear-capable, was put into service for the Air Force in the 1980s. In 1994, funding for its nuclear mission was eliminated, though it remained “equipped for nuclear armament” until 2007. Since 2001, the B-1 fleet has “been nearly continuously deployed” for operations in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, according to Boeing Defense, Space and Security. From 1984 to 2021, 29 Lancer accidents have occurred, which have killed 11 people.
While 100 B-1s were built, only 45 are still in service and stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base and Dyess Air Force Base in Texas.
The B-1B fleet is being retired from the Air Force and replaced with the $700 million B-21 bombers. The final B-1 is set to leave service in 2036.
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