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October 1, 2013

Sallie Mae leads Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaints about student loans

Sallie Mae leads Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaints about student loans

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

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File photo of Sallie Mae’s headquarters in 2007
Image: Joshua Davis.

A review this week by Wikinews of US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) complaints about student loans in the United States shows Sallie Mae leads all lending institutions in complaints. Of the 4,851 complaints dating back to March 2012 when the CFPB first began collecting student loan data, 2,262 or 46.6% of all complaints were about the lender. US Federal Reserve data from 2010/2011 shows Sallie Mae is the nation’s largest student loan lender, responsible for 25% of the market

The other major lenders in this space include Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, PNC, and Discover. In complaints, AES/PHEAA came in second with 546, or 11.3% of all complaints. Wells Fargo, Citibank and JPMorgan Chase each had between 5% and 7.5% of all complaints, totaling 918 complaints between them. 78 other lending institutions round out the list of organizations with complaints filed against them for student loans.

Few of the complaints originate from people with problems with federal student loans. Less than 1%, 35 total, are for these types of loans, with Sallie Mae accounting for the bulk of complaints with 17 total. 14 other lending institutions have 3 or fewer complaints. For non-federal student loans, Sallie Mae is still the leader for complaints, with 2245 or 46.6% of all non-federal student loan complaints.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sorts complaints into three issues: Problems when you are unable to pay, Repaying your loan, and Getting a loan. None of the federal loans had complaints about getting a loan. For non-federal loans, 65.5% of the 4,816 complaints related to loan repayment. Sallie Mae led in total complaints in this category with 1467. They were followed by AES/PHEAA with 356, Wells Fargo with 231, Citibank with 201, Discover with 158, JPMorgan Chase with 154, ACS Education Services with 143, and KeyBank NA with 116. CFPB says loan repayment issues include a basket of claim types including “fees, billing, deferment, forbearance, fraud, and credit reporting.” Problems when you are unable pay accounts for 30.8% of the complaints. Sallie Mae had 698 complaints. They were followed by AES/PHEAA with 181, JPMorgan Chase with 106, Wells Fargo with 104, Citibank with 70, and KeyBank NA with 58. Many of the complaints are, according to the CFPB, because borrowers have difficulty getting deferrments on loan repayment as a result of being unable to find employment.

Month by month complaints against major lenders
Image: Laura Hale.

The total complaints against Sallie Mae for September of this year is 2 fewer than the same time last year. The company’s performance this year compared to last year has been mixed. March and June numbers were down over 150 complaints from the same month a year before. April, May, July and August all saw increases of 17–43. Of the top six lenders by volume of complaints, only AES/PHEAA and Citibank saw drops every month between March and September from the total volume in the previous year. Wells Fargo had a gain of 1 in August and 6 in May from the previous year. JPMorgan Chase had a difference of 0 from the same month last year for April, 3 more this year for May, and 4 more for August. Discover saw an increase every month from the same period last year except for September. When the total complaints differences from year to year for March to September are counted, this year has 571 fewer complaints against the top six lenders.

Closure reason percentage for student loan complaints by lender
Image: Laura Hale.

Most, 1470, of the complaints against Sallie Mae were closed with explanations. 10.2% were closed with monetary relief. 7.7% were closed with non-monetary relief. 2.1% were closed with relief and 12.1% were closed without relief. AES/PHEAA’s complaint closure picture was much different. 40.1% of AES/PHEAA’s 546 complaints were closed with non-monetary relief, 35.3% were closed with explanations and 21.2% were closed without relief. Of the eight lending institutions with 100 or more complaints filed against them, Discover was the institution most likely to result in a closure with monetary relief with 12.9% of all their closures ending this way. Citibank was the institution with the highest percentage of closures ending with no relief at 26.0%.

Geographic distribution of student loan complaints
Image: Laura Hale.

Complaints over student loan lenders were geographically distributed, coming from 3,447 different zip codes. The largest cluster of complaints is for 20001, a Washington D.C. zip code with 10 complaints originating from there. 07950, the zip code for Morris Plains, New Jersey, and 37013, the zip code for Antioch, Tennessee, each had 8 complaints originating from them. Zip codes for Patchogue, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington D.C.; and Arlington, Virginia each had 7 complaints originating from them. By volume of complaints by state, New York led with 497, with California second with 467, Pennsylvania third with 303, Florida fourth with 288 and Ohio fifth with 219 complaints. US Territories largely occupied the bottom spots. The Northern Marianas Islands, with a population of around 50,000, had 1 complaint. The U.S. Armed Forces – Pacific had 3. North Dakota and U.S. Armed Forces – Europe had 5 complaints each. South Dakota had 7. Wyoming had 8. Puerto Rico and Alaska had 9 each. Rounding out the bottom five states by volume of complaints, Mississippi had 11.

With the possibility of a United States government federal shutdown looming on October 1, student loans may be impacted because of potential for an automatic increase in interest rates.



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February 16, 2013

2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships preparations underway

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ramon Moliner, Ivan Tibau, Mariona Masdemont and Enric Ticó at Tuesday’s flag exchange
Image: IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships La Molina 2013.

Preparations are underway ahead of the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championship, with a flag exchange taking place Tuesday, volunteer recruitment ongoing, USParalympics unveiling a new uniform for their team, skiers like the United States’s Jon Lujan actively training for the event and other skiers competing in preparation for the Championships in a World Cup event Wednesday.

Tuesday in La Molina, Spain, the president of Governmental Railways of Catalonia, Enric Ticó, and the mayor of Alp, Ramon Moliner, were gifted with flags by representatives of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Catalan Government at a ceremony in Colet Museum of Barcelona at one of the first official events ahead of the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championship, which starts next week. As of Wednesday, event organisers were still seeking volunteers to assist with running the Championship. The opening ceremonies are scheduled for next Tuesday.

Entering the event, skiers had the opportunity to qualify through eight World Cup events held with only two disciplines on the program, Giant Slalom and Slalom. The first four were held in Sestriere, Italy, with the most recent four all being held in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Standing female French skier Marie Bochet has won six World Cups ahead of the World Championships and is considered by event organizers as a favorite in the standing group. Russian standing skier Alexey Bugaev is also considered a favorite by organisers as he won two Slalom and one Giant Slalom World Cup competition. In the women’s sit-ski, German Anna Schaffelhuber is considered the favorite having prepared for the Championships by winning five of the eight World Cup events. On the men’s sit-ski side, Japanese Takeshi Suzuki and Swiss Christoph Kunz both earned three World Cup victories in the lead up to this competition. In the women’s visually impaired group, Slovak Henrieta Farkasova will enter the competition with five World Cup victories. On the men’s side, Spanish Jon Santacana is favored to win with three Giant Slalom and one Slalom victory during this year’s World Cup events in the lead up to the World Championships.

British Combined Services Disabled Ski Team coach Mark Scorgie has noted that this year’s European ski season has been problematic with weather interfering with most competitions. Poor weather conditions continued Wednesday Rogla IPC Alpine World Cup, with the first Giant Slalom run canceled because of high winds.

The World Championships includes over 270 skiers, guides, coaches and support personnel from 28 countries including Spain, France, Australia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Croatia, Finland, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Turkey, Belgium, Norway, Russia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, Slovakia, Czech Republic, United States, Austria, New Zealand, Sweden, Hungary, and South Africa..

The Spanish team includes blind skier Jon Santacana and his guide Miguel Galindo, and blind skier Gabriel Gorce and his guide Arnau Ferrer. Both vision-impaired skiers are scheduled to compete in the Downhill, Super G, Super Combined, Giant Slalom, and Slalom competitions. Also on the Spanish team are LW2 classified standing skier Úrsula Pueyo, LW12-1 classified sit skier Óscar Espallargas, and LW10-1 classified sit skier Nathalie Carpanedo who qualified as a wildcard entry. Pueyo, Espallargas, and Carpanedo are all scheduled to compete in the Slalom and Giant Slalom competitions. Accompanying the team are to be coaches Javier Gutierrez, Jordi Carbonell, and Andres Gomez, medical staff including Pablo Marquez and Josep Barrachina, and technical staffer Josep Bort.

Jones competing in the Super G at the last year’s IPC Nor-Am Cup
Image: Bidgee.

The United States team consists of Seattle, Washington-based vision-impaired skier Mark Bathum and his Colorado Springs-based guide Jessica Smith; Park City, Utah-based vision-impaired skier Danelle Umstead and guide Rob Umstead; retired Army and Clarksville, Tennessee-based Heath Calhoun; Brooklyn, New York-based Ralph Green; Colorado Springs-based Allison Jones; Palmer, Alaska-based Andrew Kurka; Burlington, Vermont-based Stephen Lawler; retired Marine and Littleton, Colorado-based Jon Lujan; Farmington, New Mexico-based Alana Nichols; Wenham, Massachusetts-based Laurie Stephens; Park City, Utah-based Stephani Victor; Franconia, New Hampshire-based Tyler Walker; and retired Coast Guard and Campton, New Hampshire-based Chris Devlin-Young.



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December 14, 2012

Wikinews interviews United States Paralympic skier Andrew Kurka

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Recently, Wikinews spent time with with United States Paralympic skier Andrew Kurka, who was in Copper Mountain, Colorado for the IPC Nor-Am Cup.

Wikinews reporter LauraHale interviews New Zealand Paralympic skier Andrew Kurka



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April 6, 2012

U.S. Coast Guard unleashes cannon fire on abandoned Japanese ship

U.S. Coast Guard unleashes cannon fire on abandoned Japanese ship

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Yesterday, the United States Coast Guard went through with its plans to fire its cannons on the Ryō Un Maru, a Japanese ship that was sent out to sea last year by the tsunami that hit Japan.

The Ryō Un Maru has made a journey across the Pacific Ocean from Hachinohe, Japan to the Gulf of Alaska and ended up about 180 miles from the Alaskan shore. Coast Guard spokesman Paul Webb said sinking the vessel would be “less risky than it would be running into shore or running into [maritime] traffic”. The plan was for a Coast Guard cutter to hole the Ryou-un Maru with fire from a range of several hundred feet, and let it sink.

Prior to the sinking of the Ryō Un Maru, a Canadian fishing vessel claimed salvage rights. Webb said they would postpone their plans to sink the 164-foot Ryō Un Maru, to allow the 62-foot Bernice C to attempt to tow it; if the Canadians were not able to tow the abandoned vessel it would be sunk as planned.

After arrival the Canadians learned they could not tow the vessel and the Coast Guard proceeded with their plans. An HC-130 Hercules airplane observed the sinking of the Ryō Un Maru and warned ships in the area of a “live fire exercise”. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Anacapa firing a 25mm cannon sank the Ryō Un Maru, which had been scheduled to be scrapped prior to the 2011 tsunami.

Officials said they didn’t know how much diesel fuel the vessel, which could hold over 2,000 gallons, was carrying. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Environmental Protection Agency looked into this issue and came to the conclusion that sinking the ship and letting the fuel evaporate in open water was the best course of action.

According to Alaska state health and environmental officials, tsunami debris should not cause significant concern of radiation contamination to the shores of Alaska.


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March 21, 2012

US Air Force upgrades F-22 oxygen system after deadly crash

US Air Force upgrades F-22 oxygen system after deadly crash

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

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A pair of F-22s, from file.

The United States Air Force is replacing emergency oxygen handles on its 170 F-22 Raptor jet fighters. The move follows a report into a November 2010 crash that killed a pilot in Alaska.

The report finds Captain Jeffrey Haney’s death was partly due to aircraft design flaws. The experienced 31-year-old was on a night mission when his aircraft crashed nose-down among mountains. Planemaker Lockheed Martin now faces legal action from his widow Anna, which they vow to contest.

The report identified three separate problems with the ring handle to activate emergency oxygen. The first was that pulling the ring could require intense effort, the second that it was possible to drop the ring between seats, and the third that pilots in cold-weather gear could struggle to grasp it.

Now new handles have been designed in Arizona and the Air Force will place them on all of the $143 million aircraft. All 40 Raptors at Haney’s base, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage, have received the $47 upgrade. The Air Force bought 200 of them.

Haney’s death has been attributed by his employer as the result of his “channelized attention” on getting the main oxygen system to restart after it automatically cut out when it detected engine bay air leaks. This makes breathing through the jet’s mask difficult. The Air Force say he should have activated his emergency oxygen but the accident report and lawsuit question his ability to do so. The report notes he was conscious and fighting to keep his jet airbourne up until impact.

Documents filed with a court in Illinois claim the handle’s position is “in an area impossible for a pilot to reach while he or she maneuvered the sophisticated aircraft at speeds exceeding the speed of sound and while he or she experienced forces many times the force of gravity.”

The fatal accident is not the only such problem to beset the F-22, which despite being billed by the Air Force as their most advanced fighter has never been deployed to combat since coming into service seven years ago. Three other Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson pilots activated emergency oxygen supplies during “physiological incidents” last month, said a spokesperson for the base. Raptors were grounded nationwide for five months last Summer over the oxygen systems.



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March 8, 2012

Super Tuesday 2012: Mitt Romney wins six of ten GOP contests

Super Tuesday 2012: Mitt Romney wins six of ten GOP contests

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won six of the ten U.S. Republican Party (GOP) presidential primary contests as part of Super Tuesday. Of the remaining four, former Senator Rick Santorum won three while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won one. Representative Ron Paul of Texas did not win any contests, but finished second in three.

Mitt Romney stands with his wife Ann before delivering his victory speech.
Image: Ryan Hutton/Boston University News Service.

Romney scored victories in Ohio, Vermont, Massachusetts, Virginia, Idaho, and Alaska. In a victory speech to supporters in his home state of Massachusetts, he remarked, “tonight, we’ve taken one more step towards restoring the promise of tomorrow.” He focused his attacks on President Barack Obama, stating “this president’s run out of ideas. He’s run out of excuses. And in 2012, we’re going to get him out of … the White House.” Romney now has 415 of the 1144 delegates necessary to secure the GOP nomination.

Ohio had the closest margin with Romney defeating the second place Rick Santorum by roughly 10,000 votes or 0.8 percent. While Romney won largely urban and affluent counties, Santorum, of nearby Pennsylvania, won a majority of the counties with rural and blue-collar voters.

Despite the loss, Santorum was able to pull out victories in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, and now has a total of 176 delegates. He told supporters in Steubenville, Ohio, “We need…someone who learned what America was about by growing up in communities just like this…”. Referencing his opponents, he argued “in this race, there is only one candidate who can go up on the most important issue of the day and make the case, because I’ve never been for an individual mandate at a state or federal level.”

Newt Gingrich won his home state of Georgia, which had the most delegates available, increasing his total to 105. He vowed to remain in the race and thanked his supporters, proclaiming, “we are not going to allow the elite to decide who we are allowed to nominate…the national elite — especially in the Republican Party — had decided that a Gingrich presidency was so frightening that they had to kill it early. But, you, you wouldn’t let them do it.” He compared the campaign to the The Tortoise and the Hare fable, “There are lots of bunny rabbits that run through. I am the tortoise. I just take one step at a time.”

Ron Paul finished second in North Dakota, Virginia, and Vermont, and was a close third in Idaho and Alaska. He now has 47 delegates. In his speech to supporters, he said, “if you look at the candidates today, there is very little difference, except for one. … the rest of the candidates support the status quo.”

1541 delegates remain up for grabs. The next contests will take place on Saturday in Kansas, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.



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August 10, 2010

Former US Senator Ted Stevens among five killed in Alaska plane crash

Former US Senator Ted Stevens among five killed in Alaska plane crash

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Alaska
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  • 1 October 2013: Sallie Mae leads Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaints about student loans
  • 16 February 2013: 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships preparations underway
  • 6 April 2012: U.S. Coast Guard unleashes cannon fire on abandoned Japanese ship
  • 21 March 2012: US Air Force upgrades F-22 oxygen system after deadly crash
  • 8 March 2012: Super Tuesday 2012: Mitt Romney wins six of ten GOP contests
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A map of Alaska

Flag of Alaska.svg
Ted Stevens Sean O' Keefe
On the left, Former Senator Ted Stevens in 2005; on the right, Former NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe in 2004.

The wreckage of the plane
Image: NTSB.

Former US Senator Ted Stevens, 86, and former NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe, 54, were on an airplane that crashed in southwest Alaska, the Associated Press reports. A family spokesperson later confirmed that Stevens died in the crash, following earlier conflicting reports about his status. Both O’Keefe and his teenage son survived, according to a former NASA spokesperson.

In addition to the former Senator and former NASA chief, there were seven other passengers, The New York Times reports. Of those, five were reported to have died. The plane was heading to a fishing lodge near Lake Aleknagik when it crashed. Senator Stevens’ body has been recovered.

The Alaska National Guard was called in at 7:00 p.m. AKDT (0300 UTC) Monday, and arrived at the crash site about 7:30 a.m. AKDT (1530 UTC) Tuesday. Severe weather has made finding the crash site difficult for rescue personnel. The National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, said it was sending a team of investigators to the crash site, which is unusual for crashes of private aircraft.

As of 10:00 a.m. AKDT (1800 UTC), three of the survivors have been airlifted from the site by the United States Coast Guard.

Ted Stevens was born on November 18, 1923 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He began serving as a US Senator for Alaska in 1968, and held the postition until 2009, when he was defeated in a reelection bid by Mark Begich. He was also facing corruption charges at the time, which were later dropped after an initial conviction when it was found that prosecutors had withheld evidence from Stevens’ defense attorneys. In 1978, Stevens survived a plane crash in Anchorage, although the incident claimed the life of his first wife, Ann.

Sean O’Keefe was nominated as a NASA administrator in 2001 by then-president George W. Bush, and led the space organization through shaky times, such as the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. He resigned in 2005 to become the chancellor of Louisiana State University.



Related news

  • “Senator Ted Stevens loses re-election bid in Alaska ballot” — Wikinews, November 19, 2008
  • “Alaskan Democrat gains in US Senate race”. Wikinews, November 18, 2008
  • “Three US Senate seats still undecided”. Wikinews, November 12, 2008
  • Alaska senator Ted Stevens indicted in corruption scandal” — Wikinews, July 29, 2008
  • “US Senator Ted Stevens convicted on 7 counts” — Wikinews, October 27, 2008
  • “US Justice Department to withdraw Stevens charges” — Wikinews, April 1, 2009

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August 2, 2010

Cargo plane crashes in Alaska\’s Denali Park, sparks wildfire

Cargo plane crashes in Alaska’s Denali Park, sparks wildfire

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Reports identify the crashed aircraft as a Fairchild C-123K cargo plane (file photo)
Image: United States Air Force.

A cargo plane crashed into a mountain Sunday afternoon in Alaska’s Denali National Park, killing around three people and sparking a small wildfire after the aircraft disintegrated and burst into flames. According to the National Park Service, the plane crashed into the southern slope of Mount Healy, and the crash was just 200 yards away from Denali’s only road.

Though it is estimated that three people died in the crash, it has been hard to determine exactly how many died as “the plane pretty much disintegrated,” park spokeswoman Kris Fister said. The explosion from the crash sparked a small wildfire that firefighters contained within two acres (one hectare.)

Though George Clare, a man from Las Vegas who witnessed the crash, thought the plane looked like a military aircraft, US military officials have stated that none of their planes were involved. Clare has said that the plane was “… a military khaki green kind of color. It was propeller-driven. It was a fixed wing aircraft and it had kind of a flat underbelly.” The Federal Aviation Administration, which tracks civil flying accidents, later circulated a report that identified the aircraft as a Fairchild C-123K, and echoed the initial reports that all three on board died, including one passenger.

Jeff Kowalczyk, an EMT hiking through the 6,075,107 acre park with his wife, a nurse, said that he saw the plane positioned almost upside-down as it crashed. The crash was only a few hundred yards from where he was watching, and he also said “the whole experience was really surreal.”

The crash came just four days after another major airplane crash in the state, when a military cargo plane crashed a minute after taking off at the Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage. The crash killed four people onboard who were training for an airshow.


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July 30, 2010

Medical helicopter crashes in Tucson, Arizona, kills all on board

Medical helicopter crashes in Tucson, Arizona, kills all on board

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Friday, July 30, 2010

The Eurocopter AS350B3 is an aircraft type commonly used for medical evacuation (file photo)
Image: Benjamint444 / Wikimedia Commons.

A medical helicopter crashed into a fence just outside a house in Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday afternoon, killing all three crew members on board. The crash occurred at 1:42 p.m. Arizona time (21:42 UTC) at the intersection of Glenn Street and Park Avenue. Eyewitness Ricardo Carrasco said that he saw the rotors stop working and the helicopter start plummeting towards the ground, with the pilot attempting to steer it away from the house.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the helicopter was a Eurocopter AS350B3 flown in the LifeNet Arizona fleet. It was operated by the Colorado-based Air Methods Corporation, which specializes in flying emergency medical helicopters.

“This is a sad day for all of us at Air Methods and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of our employees who perished while on duty,” Air Methods Corporation CEO Aaron Todd said after the crash.

Two other fatal aviation accidents were reported in the United States on Wednesday. In Alaska, a United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport plane crashed while preparing for an air show, killing all four crew members. Earlier, Delaware, Ohio city councilman and airport commissioner James Moore died when his rented light plane crashed and caught fire close to the city’s airport.



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C-17 crashes near air force base in Alaska

C-17 crashes near air force base in Alaska

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Friday, July 30, 2010

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Thirteen C-17 Globemaster III aircraft fly over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia during low level tactical training Dec. 20, 2005. The C-17 involved in the crash was practicing for an air show.
Image: Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey, U.S. Air Force.

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, operated by the United States Air Force, crashed on Wednesday near Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska at about 6:15 pm (0215 Thursday UTC), killing all four crew members. The plane was practicing for the 2010 Arctic Thunder air show.

These facts were confirmed by Air Force Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, Commander of Alaskan Command NORAD, in an impromptu press conference later in the evening. Col. John McMullen, commander of the 3rd Wing (under whose authority the plane belonged), announced the four deaths on Thursday. Three were members of the U.S. Air National Guard, one was active duty. Names are being withheld pending the notification of family members.

The Elmendorf base is near Anchorage, Alaska, and the fireball and plume were visible from that city’s downtown. “It was a big, gray plume of smoke and I saw a fireball go up in it,” said Anchorage Fire Dept. Captain Bryan Grella in an interview with the Associated Press.

The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft is designed for rapid response strategic airlift, medical evacuation, and airdrop roles, carrying cargo and troops. The aircraft are used by the United States, the United Kingdom, NATO, Australia, Canada, and Qatar.


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