(5-5-03) Repairs continue in North on Air Force jet after "landing incident"

(Orangeburg) May 5, 2003 - Crews in Orangeburg County will continue repairing an Air Force C-32 that made an emergency landing in North.

The plane was on a classified testing mission from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida when it touched down, and the nose gear collapsed last week.

The military aircraft is a 155 feet in length and it can carry 45 passengers and is the same type of plane that carries the Vice President. There were no government leaders on board the jet when it made what the military called a "landing incident" at North Auxiliary Field on Thursday.

Air Force spokeswoman Major Linda Pepin says there were no serious injuries, "There was a crew of 10 on board. Two sustained minor injuries and were treated and released."

The nose gear on the plane collapsed and the plane's position on the ground is not parallel to the runway. Major Pepin says the incident will be investigated in days to come by an Air Force safety board, "In any case where there's an incident that involves aircraft safety to ensure that whatever happened in this incident we can avoid next time."

Pepin says they don't know how long the aircraft will stay on the runway, "It's really too early to know when it will get it up and moving."

The Air Force says they have limited access to the airfield because of the investigation, but they do expect to resume training flights shortly. A spokesman for Eglin AFB says the plane was part of the 486th Flight Test Squadron.

By Megan Hughes
updated 11:43am by Chris Rees