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Search effort continues following B-52 crash

7/22/2008 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) -- A joint-agency search continues for missing crew members following the crash July 21 of a B-52H Stratofortress bomber 25 miles off the northwest coast of Guam.

The bodies of two of the six Airmen on board the aircraft have been recovered. Identities of the crew members are being withheld pending family notification.

On-scene in a 900-square mile search area are crews with two U.S. Coast Guard vessels and the USS John McCain, an Arleigh Burke class destroyer. Additionally, Navy MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 and U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles from the 389th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron joined a Navy P-3 Orion from Kadena Air Base in Japan. Guam police and fire department rescue units also joined the search.

"The U.S. Coast Guard-led search effort has been extensive and the joint military and civilian team is thoroughly scouring the area in the search for survivors," said Brig. Gen. Douglas Owens, commander of the 36th Wing here.

"Coast Guard assets were on scene within 45 minutes of the accident, and the teamwork we've had with them, the Navy and other local and federal agencies has been tremendous," General Owens said.

"We recognize, however, that the longer this search continues the less likelihood there is that we'll find survivors. Although we continue to hold out hope, we've had no encouraging indicators that our Airmen survived this crash,'' he said.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to all the family members and friends of our missing aircrew as we continue our search and rescue efforts."

The aircraft was reported missing at approximately 9:45 a.m. Monday. The bomber was flying a training mission and was scheduled to perform a flyover celebrating Guam's Liberation Day. There were no weapons or munitions aboard the aircraft. The B-52 was deployed here from Barksdale AFB, La., as part of the DOD's continuous bomber presence mission in the Pacific.

A board of officers is investigating the accident. More information will be released as it becomes available.

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