Air Force: 3 killed in New Mexico crash of military plane

(Graphic: WKRN)

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — Three service members were killed after a single-engine reconnaissance and surveillance plane crashed in eastern New Mexico during a training flight, the Air Force said.

Officials at Cannon Air Force Base said the U-28A crashed Tuesday night in a field about a quarter mile east of Clovis Municipal Airport, about 3 miles east of Cannon. The plane was assigned to Cannon.

The identities of the victims will be withheld until 24 hours after the families are notified, Cannon officials said in a statement.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The crash caused a fire that was extinguished by local firefighters, officials said.

Cannon has approximately 5,800 military personnel and civilian employees and is home to the 27th Special Operations Wing.

The wing’s units include a special operations group that uses several types of aircraft to perform missions that include insertion and removal of personnel, combat support, aerial refueling of helicopters, close air support and drone operations.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss within our Air Commando family,” said Col. Ben Maitre, Cannon’s installation commander. “Our sympathies are with the loved ones and friends affected by this tragedy, and our team is focused on supporting them during this difficult time.”

An Air Force fact sheet says the U-28A is used for tactical airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of special operations forces.

The fact sheet says the plane has a four-member crew of two pilots, a combat systems officer and a tactical systems officer.

According to the fact sheet, the U-28A “evolved from commercially available aircraft that were purchased and then modified with communications gear, aircraft survivability equipment, electro-optical sensors, and advanced navigation systems. “