B-2 Stealth Accident
HAGATNA, Guam - A B-2 stealth bomber crashed Saturday at an air base onGuam, but both pilots ejected safely and were in good condition, theAir Force said.
It was the first crash of a B-2 bomber, said Capt. Sheila Johnston, aspokeswoman for Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base inVirginia.
Thick, black smoke could be seen billowing from the wreckage atAndersen Air Force Base, said Jeanne Ward, a resident in the northernvillage of Yigo who was on the base visiting her husband.
Ward said she didn't witness the crash but noticed a rising plume of smoke behind the base's air control tower.
She said crowds began to gather as emergency vehicles arrived."Everybody was on their cell phones, and the first thing everyonewanted to know was did the pilots make it out in time," she said.
A board of officers will investigate the accident.
Each B-2 bomber costs about $1.2 billion to build. All 21 stealthbombers are based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, but the AirForce has been rotating several of them through Guam since 2004, alongwith B-1 and B-52 bombers.
The rotations are designed to boost the U.S. security presence in theAsia-Pacific region while other U.S. forces diverted to fight in theMiddle East.
The B-2 was first publicly displayed in 1988 and took its first flighta year later. The first bomber was delivered to Whiteman in 1993.
The accident occurred 11 days after a Navy plane crashed into the oceanabout 20 miles northeast of Guam's Ritidian Point. Four aircrew membersejected from the EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft and wererescued by helicopter.