Flight Crew Evades Rockets, Plane Lands Safely
Some tense moments for
the flight crew of a C-130 turboprop transporting four US lawmakers
from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan on Thursday, after their plane was
fired on by insurgent forces.
United Press International reports three rockets were fired at
the plane shortly after it took off. Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe
and Mel Martinez (R-FL) were onboard the plane, as were Alabama
Senator Richard Shelby and Congressman Bud Cramer (D-AL.)
The aircraft landed safely in Amman just after 1800 EDT
Thursday... leaving its relieved passengers with some stories to
"It was dark as the dickens outside, and I was looking out the
little window. I saw the red glare of a shell or a missile coming
up toward our plane," Shelby said in a telephone interview,
according to the Huntsvile (AL) Times. "Then I saw a flare pop out
and our plane just started moving and changing directions and
trying to move."
Shelby gave the flight crew credit for "a tremendous job evading
the missiles ... We owe them."
An uncredited email to UPI from a person onboard the aircraft
gave a harrowing account of the incident.
"On departure from Baghdad our plane took fire from three ground
to air missiles," the message said, adding the projectiles "could
have been RPGs" (rocket-propelled grenades.)
"After visually detecting the incoming missiles," the pilots
"took evasive maneuvers and deployed counter-measures on all three
shots. One crew member told me that (helicopters) were called in on
the shooters’ positions," the email stated.
To date, there has been only one confirmed fatal shootdown of a
C-130 in Iraq -- a January 2005 downing that claimed the lives of
10 British military personnel, as ANN reported. In November
2003, a US Hercules was hit by a missile, but managed to land