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The US Air Force has grounded all of its air tankers following the deadly crash late Sunday.
At least one crew member is dead after the crash of a C-130 military cargo plane battling a wildfire in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
There was no official word on death or injuries, but the family of US Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal, 42, of Mooresville, N.C., confirmed they were notified early Monday that he had died in the crash Sunday evening, The Associated Press reported.
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Three of the six crew members were hospitalized, according to the Rapid City Journal.
The Air Force on Monday grounded its remaining C-130s in the wake of the crash, which occurred after the plane had dropped a load of retardant on the White Draw fire , Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Carver told the AP.
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“People are shaken, as you would expect them to be,” he said. “They’re going to stand down today and talk about what happened.”
The plane was attached to the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte, N.C., according to USA Today.
It was the second air tanker crash in the past two months, CNN reported.
Two pilots were killed in a tanker crash in mountainous terrain June 3 while trying to subdue the White Rock fire along the Nevada-Utah border. The blaze was 100 percent contained by June 9, CNN reported.
Over the past 60 years, there have been about 1.5 crashes of large planes on firefighting missions reported each year, Gene Rogers, a wildland fire consultant from Oregon, told the Charlotte Observer.