Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Predator MQ-1B crashes at Cannon AFB , New Mexico

An unmanned plane crashed through a perimeter fence at Cannon Air Force Base Wednesday morning before coming to rest in a nearby cornfield.

There were no injuries, according to a statement from Cannon.

Cannon officials said the plane was an MQ-1 B Predator assigned to Cannon’s 3rd Special Operations Squadron.

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) reportedly taxied off the base runway, crashing before it got airborne.

The aircraft was carrying practice munitions that posed no threat, Cannon stated in a press release.

The crash occurred off of N.M. 467 just east of Cannon’s south perimeter gate, also known as the Portales Gate.

Curry County Undersheriff Wesley Waller said deputies were called to assist Cannon personnel around 8:30 a.m. but left shortly because base personnel had the situation under control.

Joe Black said he was contacted by sheriff’s deputies just after 8:30 a.m. and went out to the crash site. Black manages the farm for owner Art Schaap.

Black said there were base emergency response vehicles on scene and hazardous materials personnel in protective clothing cleaning the area.

“It looked like they had it pretty well under control,” Black said.

He said he didn’t see any fluid leaks and there was no significant damage to crops or nearby irrigation equipment.

“It was approximately 20 to 30 feet from our pivot system ... (the damage) was just their fence and probably a little bit of road work that will have to be done,” he said. “But it was okay, everything’s going to be okay.”

Black said in eight years working on the farmland near the base, “we see a lot of planes every day go over,” but he has never seen an aircraft crash in the area before.
Cannon personnel are continuing to recover debris.

Cannon Spokesman Elliott Sprehe said the cause of the crash is unknown and more information will be released as it becomes available.

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