SOUTH DAKOTA (Agencies): A B-1 Lancer bomber crashed during a training mission on Thursday in South Dakota, according to US military officials. The crash occurred at around 5:50 p.m. local time while attempting to land at the Ellsworth Air Force Base during a training operation.
All four crew members on board managed to safely eject from the aircraft, and the bomber reportedly exploded after it crashed. Unverified emergency transmissions shared across social media described officials working to control an active fire at the scene.
The accident was confined to the base itself, though nearby residents claimed on social media they felt the blast in their homes. According to media reports, the weather was foggy and icy in the area at the time of the crash. Ellsworth Air Force base is home to two squadrons of B-1 Lancer bombers.
This is the second high-profile training exercise crash by the Air Force in less than three months. In late November, an Air Force CV-22 Osprey crashed off the coast of Japan, killing the crew on board. Further details on the crash will become available after a board of officers conducts an investigation.
The B-1 Lancer bomber is a nuclear-capable, jet-powered aircraft with the largest payload of guided and unguided bombs, high speed, and impressive handling. It is considered the backbone of the US bomber fleet, and less than 60 of the original 100 built remain in active service.