Aborted Landing Cited in Deaths
Dec. 11, 1999
KUWAIT (AP) _ Three U.S. servicemen who died in a plane accident in Kuwait were killed in an aborted landing at an air base, the U.S. Embassy said Saturday.
After the aborted landing early Friday, the C-130 transport plane flew to Kuwait International Airport where it made an emergency belly-landing. Initial reports had said that was where the deaths occurred.
The three servicemen died from injuries received when their plane was ``damaged attempting to land at an air base,'' an embassy statement said. It did not elaborate any further.
The embassy did not name the military airport, but the Al-Siyassa newspaper identified it Saturday as being the Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, west of Kuwait City. Ahmed Al Jaber is one of two air bases that U.S. forces use in Kuwait.
The plane was carrying 86 military personnel and a crew of eight, the embassy said. Seventeen servicemen were injured in the first landing attempt. The embassy said they have all been discharged from the hospital, but two were flown to Ramstein Air Base in Germany for ``medical evaluation.''
The embassy identified the three killed as Capt. Michael D. Geragosian of Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; Airman 1st Class Benjamin T. Hall of F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.; and Airman 1st Class Warren T. Willis of Offut Air Force Base, Nev. Their hometowns were not given.
A Kuwait Defense Ministry official blamed the accident on a malfunction and bad weather, but the cause is still under investigation. It was foggy and rainy on Friday.
The aircraft belonged to the 61st Airlift Squadron of Little Rock Air Force Base.
Several thousand American troops are stationed in Kuwait under a 10-year agreement signed after a U.S.-led coalition drove Iraqi soldiers from the emirate in the 1991 Gulf War.