North Carolina station interviews airman before fatal plane crash
A plane crashes Sunday when it was helping fight the White Draw fire in Edgemont, South Dakota. The airmen and the plane were from the North Carolina Air National Guard based out of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Tonight, the North Carolina Air National Guard is mourning the loss of those who died and the others who are seriously hurt.
"People are shaken as you'd expect them to be. It's really a family, particularly the Air National Guard. It's a small community, even a smaller group that does these mass missions so it does take a toll," Lt. Col. Robert Carver said.
Lt. Col. Robert Carver talked to the media Monday. We know six people were on the C-130 plane when it went down in South Dakota. Carver wouldn't say how many people died or how many have been injured.
Three dozen members left from North Carolina over the weekend and headed to Colorado first. They arrived in South Dakota Sunday. Before the airmen took off from North Carolina, North Carolina television station WSOC interviewed 42-year-old Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal. His family confirmed to the Associated Press Monday that he was one of the men who died.
"Been watching the news and seeing everything going on out there and so we've been waiting for the call, and as soon as we got it we were ready to go," Paul Mikeal said.
Before the plane crashed Sunday around 6:30 p.m. MT, it was spraying fire retardant on the wildfire which keeps the fire from advancing.
There are only eight planes in the country that have specific aerial firefighting resources. The seven others are now grounded. We don't know when they'll be back in the air again.
While we don't know what caused this crash, Carver says the airmen were trained and ready for the mission.
"These are the same people who go to the tough spots around the world and represent during our nations war. You can't ask for people in higher character who go in harms way and volunteer to do so," Lt. Col. Robert Carver said.
We should know more about why this plane went down in the next few weeks or months.
Tuesday, we should learn about the survivors of this crash. The survivors are seriously hurt and are at Rapid City Regional Hospital.