A giant United States Starlifter military transport plane crashed near Peterborough in Britain on Saturday (28 August) killing all 17 people on board.
GV U.S. Starlifter military aircraft taxiing and taking off
AERIAL VIEW debris from crashed Starlifter plane (2 shots)
AERIAL VIEW Tail plane of starlifter in different field
GV PAN Rescue workers at scene of crash (4 shots)
CU Mrs. Linda Nobbs describing crash
SV Firemen dowsing smoking debris (3 shots)
AERIAL VIEW Wreckage in field
COLE: "From the air there was little to indicate that this was once of the American Air Force's biggest transporters. The fuselage of the Starlifter had gouged a deep scar into the soft black earth of the sugar beet field. The plane had plunged in flames, breaking up as it did so. The tail plane fell in a field several hundred yards away. On the ground rescue teams from the nearby American air base at Alconbury quickly joined local firemen at the scene. But the plane had almost burnt itself out by the time they arrived. For those on board there had been no possibility of escape. There was a storm and turbulence at the time the pilot lost radio contact and eyewitness said they saw lighting strike the plane."
MRS. NOBBS: "Well I just saw pieces of the aeroplane falling - you know - in flames. But I didn't see the main part fall, you know, the aeroplane itself. It was thundering and lightning, you know, And i just came out of the door and we heard a bang and, you know, it was the aeroplane I suppose. And I shouted to my husband and he fetched the Landrover and went over the plane but he said he could not get to it, it was too hot."
COLE: "The crash was fortunately in one of the lest populated part of the fens. The nearest house was at lest a quarter of a mile away. A board of American Air Force officers has been appointed to investigate the crash. Tonight the investigation team were beginning their work but it will be several months before they report whether or not Starlifter 70006 did crash because of the sudden storm which broke the drought in the fens."
The Lockheed C-141 Starlifter is a four jet rear loading transport designed for military cargo and passengers. Starlifters flew hundreds of missions across the Pacific Ocean during the Vietnam War carrying troops, cargo and wounded. Modified Starlifters can carry the Minuteman intercontinental nuclear ballistic missile. An air force spokesman in Washington said there was no suspicion of sabotage. In another crash on Saturday eight British servicemen were killed when their helicopter crashed in the central American British colony of Belilize.
BBC REPORTER: MICHAEL COLE
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A giant United States Starlifter military transport plane crashed near Peterborough in Britain on Saturday (28 August) killing all 17 people on board. The same day 21 people died when another Starlifter crashed in Greenland. The United states air force said both aircraft were on routine transport missions. BBC reporter Michael Cole reports on the crash near Peterborough in England's east Midlands.