January 16th, 2007 04:26 EST
U.S. Military Responds to Civilian Aircraft Crash
BALAD AIR BASE Iraq, " U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army personnel here responded immediately to the crash of the Aeriantur-M Air Cargo Co. civilian airliner outside the base Jan. 7.
Thirty-four of the 35 passengers and crew on board lost their lives in the accident. The Turkish civilian-contract employees were en route to Balad and other bases in Iraq to provide services for the U.S. military.
These brave civilian-contract employees were in Iraq helping us accomplish our mission, and their loss is a tragedy, " said Brig. Gen. Robin Rand, commander of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing. Our condolences go out to the families in their time of loss. "
Within minutes, emergency responders from the 332nd AEW and the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) mobilized the resources to secure the crash site and provide security on the scene. Army and Air Force firefighters responded to the site, and Airmen and Soldiers collected the casualties.
The Air Force`s 64th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron here dispatched helicopters and crews to assist with transport of those killed, while an Army ground ambulance recovered the survivor to the Air Force Theater Hospital. The dedicated medical staff at the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group provided life-saving surgery and treatment.
The hospital also worked with Army mortuary affairs teams to provide mortuary services for the deceased, ensuring dignified return of the remains to Turkey for the families. With the survivor cared for and human remains recovered, the military team focused on preserving the evidence of the mishap.
Wing safety personnel took photographs at the scene and collected evidence for use in a safety investigation. Next, Army and Air Force personnel collected the wreckage from the crash site and recovered it to the base on flatbed trucks. The wreckage is secured on base here; the Air Force and Army are prepared to assist the investigation team, which will be led by the Government of Iraq and will include Turkish observers.
The exact cause of the crash is yet to be determined but does not appear to be the result of hostile action.
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