B-52 crashes in Guam; no injuries reported

Posted: 11:12 PM, May 18, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-18 23:12:50-04
B-52 crashes in Guam; no injuries reported

A B-52 crashed Thursday morning at a U.S. Air Force base in Guam during a training mission, with all seven crew members safely leaving the aircraft, the base said.

The huge bomber crashed at Andersen Air Force Base about 8:30 a.m. (6:30 p.m. Wednesday ET); no injuries were reported, the base said.

Details weren’t immediately available.

Orange flames and thick smoke rose from a plane’s charred remnants at the base, in images distributed by KUAM-TV show.

“The incident is under investigation and measures to mitigate possible environmental impacts are being taken,” the base said.

The B-52’s home is Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. The crew members are from the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron.

Military officials have said Guam provides a much different training environment than North America, part of which is the ability to take part in joint exercises.

B-52s cost about $84 million apiece, according to the military.

Guam is a U.S. territory in the Pacific, about 3,800 miles west of Honolulu and 2,500 miles southeast of Beijing.

Guam, home to Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam, has been considered a place from where the U.S. could project power across the Pacific while having its forces at relatively safe distance from possible threats, including North Korea and China.

A report from the RAND Corporation think tank prepared called Andersen the “only U.S. base in the Western Pacific not currently threatened by conventional ballistic missiles.”

But at a military parade in Beijing last September, China’s military unveiled the DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile — dubbed by analysts the “Guam killer.”