EDGEMONT, S.D. — A C-130 Hercules tanker from an Air Force base in Colorado crashed while battling a 4,200-acre forest fire in southwest South Dakota, a military official said Monday.
Capt. Ruth Castro, a spokeswoman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told The Associated Press that the tanker made at least two drops of fire retardant on the White Draw Fire on Sunday before crashing at about 6 p.m. Castro did not say where the aircraft crashed, and the cause was not immediately known.
Three people were retrieved from the wreckage and taken to a Rapid City hospital, the Fall River County Sheriff’s Office told the Rapid City Journal. Calls to the sheriff’s office Monday morning were referred to NORAD. Castro could not immediately confirm the newspaper report and had no information on the conditions of the crew. The Department of Defense says the C-130 tankers typically carry a crew of five.
The aircraft and crew traveled from the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado to assist in efforts to contain the fire that was sparked Friday afternoon by a vehicle near Edgemont, 80 miles southwest of Rapid City. On Monday morning the 6 1⁄2-square-mile blaze was about 30 percent contained, according to an inter-agency government website.
The C-130 can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide, and can be refilled in less than 12 minutes, according to the Defense Department.
Steep terrain, rattlesnakes and hot, dry weather were presenting challenges for the 181 people battling the fire.
The National Weather Service has forecast temperatures in the 90s through the end of the week.
Incident Information System: www.inciweb.org