U.S. refueling plane damaged at Kyrgyzstan base
MANAS AIR BASE, Kyrgyzstan — A Kyrgyz airliner struck a U.S. military refueling aircraft late Tuesday night, shearing off part of the American plane’s wing and sparking a blaze at the airport, which is used by both commercial and military aircraft.
No injuries were reported in the incident, U.S. and Kyrgyz officials said.
According to an airport spokeswoman, the U.S. refueler had landed and come to a stop when the Kyrgyzstan Air Company passenger jet clipped its wing on take-off.
The refueler, which costs $40 million, according to an Air Force fact sheet, sustained “extensive damage” in the resulting fire, according to base spokeswoman Capt. Anna Carpenter.
Both the U.S. 376th Air Expeditionary Wing and Kyrgyz authorities are conducting investigations into the cause of the collision.
“We don’t know the exact answers, who’s guilty and who’s not,” an airport spokewoman said.
The airport has only one runway.
Kyrgyz airport officials provided most of the details about the accident. The U.S. Air Force in a news release Tuesday night said only that there had been a fire on a KC-135 Stratotanker, not mentioning the Kyrgyz plane at all.