The U.S. Air Force has released the findings of its investigation into the crash of a C-130 Hercules air tanker on July 1 in South Dakota that killed four members of the North Carolina Air National Guard, including a Clinton native.
Lt. Col. Paul Mikael and three other crew members aboard the plane died while fighting wildfires in the Black Hills. The accident report released Wednesday says that the crew misjudged weather and flew into a wind burst that forced their plane down, according to WSYH Radio in Clinton.
The report was issued by the Air Force Air Mobility Command, and it said the crash occurred because the crew had made an “inadequate assessment” of the weather before flying into a microburst, a small and intense thunderstorm, WYSH said.
The report also said two other plane crews in the area failed to communicate critical information to Mikael and his crew, which also received conflicting information on how close they could fly to a thunderstorm, WYSH said. Two other crew members in the rear of the plane were injured but survived the crash.
The North Carolina Air National Guard released a statement Wednesday that said they will study the investigation’s conclusions to prevent future incidents, WYSH said.
The radio station said Clinton has paid tribute to Mikael’s service through remembrances, resolutions and renaming the swimming pool at the Clinton Community Center in his honor.
WYSH used information from the Air Force Times in its story. For more information, visit http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2012/11/airforce-c130-crash-report-111412w.
This story brought to you through an agreement between Oak Ridge Today and WYSH. See more local news headlines on the WYSH website at http://www.wyshradio.com/local_news.html.