[Update 7/29, 4:40 a.m. AKT] Adds confirmation that all four crewmembers were killed, statement from 3rd Wing commander, notes Thursday morning press conference.
An Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft crashed on Elmendorf Air Force Base at about 6:14 p.m. Wednesday. The aircrew was made up of four people, three in the Alaska Air National Guard and one on active duty at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The Air Force announced early Thursday morning that all four were killed. Their names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
"Our deepest sympathy and sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of those Airmen killed in this crash. Yesterday, we lost four members of our Arctic Warrior family and it's a loss felt across our entire joint installation," said Col. John McMullen, 3rd Wing commander. "Right now our immediate focus is on providing all possible support to the loved ones of our fallen aviators. We are also engaged in a deliberate investigative process."
The plane was on a local training mission and first responders are on the scene of the crash, according to an earlier Air Force press release.
The C-17 is a high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed military transport plane, according to the Boeing website. The plane is 174 feet long and has a wingspan of just under 170 feet.
An air show at Elmendorf is scheduled to start Saturday. The two-day event attracts huge crowds to watch performances by the Blue Angels, the Snowbirds, and a demonstration by the C-17 Globemaster. It's not immediately clear if the air show will go on as planned, but it seems likely that some practice will be interrupted by the crash.
The plane crashed shortly after taking off, according to Capt. Uriah Orland, an Air Force spokesman. Orland did not know what caused the crash.
"Any talk of that would be speculation, and we're not going to speculate at this time," he said, adding that a board of officers will investigate the accident.
Air National Guard Air Force officials have scheduled a press conference on Thursday morning, where further details may be disclosed.
Here's a video of a C-17 during a training exercise at Elmendorf posted a week ago on YouTube.