David Cenciotti's been on a roll lately. Today he tells about a plane crash in Northern Africa...
On Feb. 18, 2012, a U.S. spy plane crashed six miles from Djibouti International Airport during “a routine flight.” As a consequence, all four U.S. military personnel on board, belonging to the 319th and 34th Special Operations Squadrons, and to the 25th Intelligence Squadron, both based at Hurlburt field, Fla., died.Bad day for AFSOC.
The accidednt occurred around 8.00 PM LT.
As usual in similar cases, a special investigation team has been dispatched to determine the cause of the crash.
Noteworthy, the doomed military plane was a U-28A, that is equipped with 21 such aircraft to perform intra-theater transport of small numbers of special operations troops.
The U-28A (where “U” prefix stands for “utilitarian”), purchased at a unit price of 3.5 million USD from the Swiss company Pilatus, is a militarized version of the PC-12. Although much similar in terms of basic design as the civilian plane, the U-28A is equipped with special navigation equipment, weather radar and other undisclosed equipment.
The plane has a crew of two (even if can be flown by one pilot only) and it is able to operate from short and unimproved runway surfaces
According to the information released by the Air Force Special Operations Command, depending on the internal configuration, the aircraft can carry up to nine passengers, or about 3,000 pounds of cargo.
Hard to say what the type of mission the aircraft was flying from Camp Lemonnier, a U.S. forward operating base involved in the recent Special Forces raid to free two Western worker in Somalia, but, according to the first rumors, it looks like the aircraft did not crash as a consequence of any hostile act.
They don't talk like SEALs so we'll never know what mission they were on.
That's a good thing.
Hearts go out to the families and victims.
Maybe its time to reclassify Djibouti. 11th MEU just lost a Corpsman to training in that area and now we have an airplane go down. Its quite obvious that the secret war has moved to that continent. It seems to me that Djibouti is at the very least a hazardous location if not actually part of the war zone.