Connect to share and comment

A daily chronicle of a rapidly changing continent.

US military plane crashes in Djibouti

Reconnaissance plane returning from Afganistan mission crashes in Djibouti.
Us military plane crash djibouti 2012 2 20Enlarge
A US military plane crashed in Djibouti as it was returning to Camp Lemonnier, the only US military base in Africa. Here, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaks to military personnel during his visit to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on December 13, 2011. Panetta spoke with President Ismael Omar Guelleh for talks on counter-terrorism measures. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais /AFP/Getty Images)

An American reconnaissance plane crashed 6 miles from the only U.S. base in Africa, killing four service members on board, after returning from a mission in support of the war in Afghanistan, the military said Monday, reported AP.

The crash occurred at about 8 p.m. Saturday in Djibouti. U.S. personnel from Camp Lemonnier in the tiny Horn of Africa nation responded to the scene.

Initial indications are that the plane did not crash because of hostile fire, reported the military. The plane was conducting an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission, he said. A statement from U.S. Africa Command called it a "routine" flight.

The single-engine, fixed-wing U-28A was returning from a mission in support of the Afghanistan war.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Camp Lemonnier lies just a few miles from the border with Somalia.

Camp Lemonnier is the base for the U.S. Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, which has played a role in counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations, according to Voice of America.

The four men killed were all U.S. Air Force personnel from the Hulburt Field base in Florida. 

The four killed in the crash were: Capt. Ryan P. Hall, 30, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, with the 319th Special Operations Squadron; Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock, 29, of Newnan, Georgia, with the 34th Special Operations Squadron; 1st Lt. Justin J. Wilkens, 26, of Bend, Oregon, with the 34th Special Operations Squadron; and Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, with the 25th Intelligence Squadron.

Hall was a U-28 pilot with more than 1,300 combat flight hours. He was assigned to the 319th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

More from GlobalPost: Somalia News: Turkish airlines to fly to Mogadishu

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/africa-emerges/us-plane-crashes-africa