A Boeing 707 tanker operated by Omega Aerial Refueling Services has crashed taking off from NAS Point Mugu in California, but the US Navy said the aircraft’s three-person crew “escaped with minor injuries”.
A video clip on the website of Los Angeles ABC news affiliate KABC-TV showed a 707 burning at the end of runway, with the Omega logo clearly visible on the tail. A report quoting an air station spokesman said the aircraft was carrying 68,000kg (150,000lb) of jet fuel.
A number of fire fighting agencies as well as a helicopter were called on to douse the blaze. “The fire was contained by responding units within a few hours,” the USN said.
© KABC-TV Los Angeles
According to Omega's website, the company operates two K-707s. One was a former Pan Am -300 model with the registration number N707AR, the other a former Saudi Arabian diplomatic transport, register N707MQ. It is not clear which aircraft was involved in the incident.
The company also operates a McDonnell Douglas KDC-10 tanker converted from a Japan Airlines DC-10. Omega fills a niche providing tanker support for the armed forces of the USA and its allies.
The US National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash, according to a navy statement.