Crew in B-1 bomber crash identified; all ejected plane

Aug 21, 2013 The Associated Press

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The Air Force has released the names of the four South Dakota crew members who safely ejected from a B-1B bomber that crashed in Montana.

Maj. Frank Biancardi II and Capt. Curtis Michael were the instructor pilots on board.

Capt. Chad Nishizuka and Capt. Brandon Packard were weapons system instructors.

Their hometowns were not released.

All four suffered injuries and are being treated or already have been released.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of Monday's crash near Broadus, Mont., about 170 miles southeast of Billings, Mont., near the Wyoming border.

The bomber and crew were part of the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City, which has 28 of the planes, including the one that crashed.

They remained grounded until maintenance and operations commanders ensure they're safe.

The planes train often in the skies above the remote area where Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana meet. Air Force leaders would like to expand that truing range to triple is current size

Ellsworth is one of just two American bases to host the B-1m which as a mobile attack-style bomber that can target specific sites at lower altitudes than the huge B-2 and B-52 strategic bombers.

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