July 3, 2012
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) — The North Carolina Air National Guard – and indeed the National Guard across all of North Carolina and the country – is grieving today.
The military C-130 equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, otherwise known as MAFFS, that crashed while battling a fire in Southwestern South Dakota at approximately 6:30 p.m. mountain time Sunday belonged to the North Carolina Air National Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing based at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
There were casualties, and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were injured and those who lost their lives. The family members of these Airmen are especially on our minds. We will provide further details on the status of the casualties soon.
The cause of the crash has not been determined, and the incident is under investigation. At the time of the crash, the crew was fighting the White Draw Fire near the town of Edgemont, S.D.
As a prudent measure, the MAFFS-equipped C-130s are on an operational hold at the present time.
U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said the agency is deeply saddened by this tragic incident. “The agency fully supports the decision by the military to stand-down its MAFFS operation to address the needs of personnel and families and ensure the safety of the mission when it resumes. The agency will continue to allocate available firefighting assets according to the prioritization of incidents.”