The US Air Force has confirmed that all four crew members aboard a Boeing C-17 transport which crashed at Elmendorf AFB in Alaska on 28 July lost their lives in the accident.

Three of those killed were drawn from the Alaska Air National Guard, while the fourth was an active service member, the air force says. A board of officers is to investigate the cause of the mishap, which happened in the lead-up to a major air show to be held at the base this weekend.

According to a report by the Anchorage Daily News, the C-17 came down only around 1min after take-off, crashing into a wooded area within the base perimeter and exploding.

C-17 Elmendorf - US Air Force 
© Staff Sgt Brian Ferguson/US Air Force

In a statement issued on 29 July, C-17 manufacturer Boeing says it “stands ready to provide technical assistance to the US Air Force with the investigation into this tragedy.”

Despite the crash and ongoing “deliberate investigative process”, Col John McMullen, commander of the USAF’s C-17-equipped 3rd Wing, says the Arctic Thunder show will proceed as planned.

“We do this to both honour the loss of our four airmen and also to pay respect to all service members who make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms,” he says.

The public event is expected to draw more than 170,000 visitors, with attractions to include the USAF’s Lockheed Martin F-22 and the US Navy’s Blue Angels and Canadian Snowbirds aerobatic display teams.