C-130 tanker crashes fighting South Dakota fire

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EDGEMONT, S.D. -- A C-130 tanker that crashed and killed an undisclosed number of people Sunday night in South Dakota belonged to the North Carolina Air National Guard.

The aircraft was part of the Guard's 145th Air Wing. The crew was helping to fight the White Draw fire when it went down at approximately 6 p.m. near Edgemont in the southwest corner of South Dakota.

The N.C. national Guard has confirmed that there were casualties aboard the plane, which usually has six individuals on board.

There are reports that three crew members died, but a number won't be confirmed by officials in North Carolina until all families are notified.

The Fall River County Sheriff's Office told the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal Sunday night that a helicopter was able to land near the plane and take three people to the city of Custer to be transported by ambulance to a Rapid City hospital.

The cause of the accident is under investigation according to Northern Command spokeswoman Capt. Ruth Castro.

The military air tanker had been staged at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs in support of fires in Colorado and around the region.

There are seven other MAFFS or Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System planes. They have been grounded during the investigation into the crash.

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