17 Airmen survive Dover C-5 crash

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The 17 Airmen aboard the C-5 Galaxy that crashed near Dover Air Force Base, Del., today all survived, a 436th Airlift Wing spokesman said.

However, there is still no official word on the condition of the survivors, wing spokesman 1st Lt. Jamal Beck said.

“We’re still gathering information,” he said. As of 11 a.m. EDT, firefighters, medics and security forces were still on the scene.

The huge cargo plane crashed at 6:30 a.m. EDT today. The Airmen on board are members of the 436th Airlift Wing and the Air Force Reserve’s 512th Airlift Wing.

Television news reports of the crash show the aircraft's tail a distance from the main wreckage, where the fuselage and nose are adjacent but separated.

The last C-5 crash was on Aug. 28, 1990, during Operation Desert Shield. A C-5 crashed after takeoff from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, killing 13 of the 17 people on board.

The C-5 is the Air Force’s largest transport and has been in the fleet since 1969. The plane stretches almost the length of a football field and stands as high as a six-story building. The cargo compartment is 143 feet long, 19 feet wide and 13 feet high.

The aircraft has a tremendous airlift capacity. The Berlin Airlift required 308 aircraft of the C-47 vintage, the military equivalent of the DC-3. Seventeen C-5s could have completed the same operation, according to a fact sheet on Dover AFB's Web site.

A board of Air Force officers will convene to investigate the cause of the accident, officials said.