RALEIGH, N.C. — An Air Force crash report says four members of a North Carolina Air National Guard plane fighting Western wildfires died last summer when the crew misjudged conditions and flew into a wind burst that slammed them to the ground.
The accident investigation report released Wednesday said a C-130 air tanker fighting a wildfire in the South Dakota Black Hills crashed because the crew made an "inadequate assessment" of conditions and flew into a microburst.
Four of the six crew members from a North Carolina Air National Guard unit flying the plane died July 1. Two crewmen were injured.
A microburst is a narrow wind gust that rushes downward out of a thunderstorm. A plane flying through it at low altitude can quickly lose the lift that keeps it aloft.
Some C-130 planes were based out of Colorado Springs during the wildfires this summer.