Deshaun Head, left, and Gerald Mills, second from left, of San Francisco, watched as the Navy plane crashed shortly after takeoff. The pair were on the ground at Dallas’ Love Field, not far from the plane. (Kelsey Della Valle/AP)
A U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon reconnaissance plane crashed during an aborted takeoff at Fort Worth International Airport on Friday night, killing two crew members.
The plane was headed for a refueling flight in Texas when it crashed, though authorities say it did not explode like a bomb. There were no immediate reports of injuries to passengers, even though Fort Worth Fire Marshal’s officials say it burst into flames about two minutes after impact.
“Our preliminary investigation shows the aircraft was on a flight with a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon Air Combat mission,” said Ronaldi Curbelo, spokesman for the Fort Worth Fire Department.
“It crashed shortly after takeoff,” he said. “It did not explode.”
The Pentagon confirmed that two crew members from the U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon Air Combat Sent were killed when the jet crashed. A third crew member was injured but is expected to recover.
The USS Paul F. Foster’s Bremerton-based crew helped search for the plane that was headed for its landing in Caddo, Texas. But a search that lasted four hours turned up only the wreckage.
A photo of the Paul F. Foster captured by a fellow crew member shows smoke rising above the wreckage. (Petty Officer K. Slack / USN)
The crash took place at 5:30 p.m. local time. The wreckage was located about two miles from the airport and several hundred yards down a side street.
Deshaun Head, 23, and Gerald Mills, 28, both of San Francisco, were at Fort Worth’s Love Field just after the crash. Head said the two crew members were already in the air when he saw the plane going down in flames. The plane fell within about 200 yards of their taxi.
The two men are two of the Coast Guard’s professional photographers. Over the past several weeks, they have been on the hunt for the wreckage of the 17,000-ton military aircraft.
The two men were together in the crush of fire when they realized they had been the only ones on the ground in Dallas-Fort Worth when the Boeing 737-700 – about 50 feet long, 12 feet wide and 28 feet tall – went down.
[Read the full story from The Christian Science Monitor]