A Canadian military plane taking part in winter war games crashed on landing Sunday night in minus-52 degree weather at Fort Wainwright Army post near Fairbanks, killing eight aboard and injuring 10 others, officials said.
The Canadian C-130, carrying 18 people and arctic combat gear, landed in severe ice fog and split in half on Ladd Army Airfield, said Capt. Jim Rodgers of Fort Wainwright."It broke apart in two major portions," he said. "The tail section snapped off, and the two sections are relatively intact one-quarter mile apart."
A Canadian Forces spokesman in Edmonton said six died instantly and two died in a local hospital. He said two of the injured were in serious condition and the eight others suffered minor injuries. It was not clear which victims were members of the eight-man crew and which were among the 10 troops riding as passengers.
He said all the dead and injured were Canadians.
Canadian Forces spokesman Maj. Luigi Rossetto in Edmonton said an investigation team would be formed as soon as possible to determine the cause of the crash and whether the extreme cold and ice fog contributed to it.
Rodgers said the passengers who escaped serious injury stood dazed at the side of the broken aircraft. There was no fire.
The injured were taken to Bassett Army Hospital on Fort Wainwright. Rodgers said the emergency response from the gathered forces was immediate and that nearby Fairbanks also sent help.
About 500 Canadian paratroopers and special forces are in Alaska for Brim Frost '89 war games involving 26,000 troops from across the United States, but extreme cold and dense ice fog have hampered maneuvers.
Thick ice fog had reduced Fort Wainwright visibility to one-eighth mile at 7 p.m. when the accident occurred, according to Fairbanks National Weather Service forecaster Dan Hancock. The temperature at Fort Wainwright was 52 below zero.
The C-130 Hercules, a four turbo-prop cargo and troop transport built by Lockheed Corp., was connected to the Canadian Force Mobile Command out of Edmonton and may have come down just short of the runway, said Maj. James Tillman of the Alaskan Air Command at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage.