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Mon, Jul 21, 2008

B-52 Down Off Guam, Crewmembers Still Missing

Stratofortress Ops Halted For Investigation

A US Air Force B-52H bomber slated to perform a flyover during Guam's Liberation Day parade crashed off the island territory's coast Monday, and at least four crew members are still reported missing.

The Stratofortress went down at 9:45 am local time Monday morning, about 30 miles northwest of Apra Harbor, reports The Associated Press. Rescuers were immediately dispatched to the scene.

At least two persons onboard the stricken bomber have been recovered, though their conditions are not yet known. Floating wreckage and the sheen of jet fuel on the water mark the accident site.

As was the case with B-2 Spirit flights following the downing of one of those bombers in Guam in February, all B-52 operations have been halted indefinitely while investigators work to determine the cause of Monday's accident.

Air Force officials have not released the identities of any of the bomber's six crewmembers, though family members told KTBS-3 in Shreveport, LA one of the persons missing is Col. George Martin, a doctor in the USAF.

The B-52 and its crew are deployed to Guam from Lousiana's Barksdale Air Force Base, as part of the continued US presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

FMI: www.af.mil

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