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NTSB promises review of Air Force crash investigation

June 5, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A federal safety board has agreed to review the military’s report on the crash of a rescue plane that killed 10 Oregon airmen, Sen. Ron Wyden said Thursday.

The four-engine Air Force Reserve HC-130 plane crashed Nov. 22 during a training mission over the Pacific about 40 miles off the coast of Northern California. Nine of the 10 crew members and the plane’s lone passenger died.

At the urging of victims’ families, the National Transportation Safety Board will assess and evaluate the Air Force’s 700-page accident investigation report, which failed to determine a cause of the crash, said Wyden, D-Ore. The Air Force refused to reopen the investigation.

Family members have been highly critical of the Air Force’s handling of the case, including its failure to recover seven victims’ bodies as wreckage was removed from water 5,000 feet deep.

Col. Larry Landtroop, the investigating officer at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, said April 21 he found insufficient evidence to determine the cause but that the accident resulted from ``fuel starvation to the engines which then ceased to operate.″

Wyden had asked the Pentagon to join in the request to reopen Landtroop’s investigation or at least have the NTSB review the earlier findings. But Maj. Gen. Lansford Trapp, the Air Force’s legislative liaison, told Wyden in a letter Thursday:

``We are confident of the thoroughness of the Air Force investigation, and even though the report did not pinpoint the exact cause of the mishap, we believe that nothing further will be gained by asking the NTSB to dedicate its limited resources to examining the HC-130 report of investigation.″

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