US Air Force orders one-day pauses in flights over deadly crashes | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 08.05.2018
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US Air Force orders one-day pauses in flights over deadly crashes

Faced with a string of fatal crashes, the US Air Force has ordered its aircraft units to be grounded for one day in a bid to find problems. Nine people were killed last week when a Hercules plane crashed over Georgia.

Planes belonging to US Air Force will be halted from flying for one day and inspected, the US Air Force command said on Tuesday, following a series of crashes that according to a military news outlet have claimed 35 lives since October last year.

To ensure continued operation, various units will be assigned different days to ground their planes and inspect them.

"We cannot afford to lose a single Airman or weapons system due to a mishap that could have been prevented," Chief of Staff of the Air Force General David Goldfein said in a statement.

Read more: US Navy plane crashes into Pacific

Officers to gather feedback from air crews

Jets flying combat missions over Iraq and Syria may be exempt, and other active duty crews would be able to choose their day for inspection, but the Air Force review is due to be completed by May 21. Goldfein also said reservists and National Guard units will have until June 25 to comply.

"Our men and women have volunteered to give their last full measure for America's security," the general said. "My intent is to have commanders lead focused forums with their Airmen to help identify gaps and seams that exist or are developing, which could lead to future mishaps or unsafe conditions."

The site of the Hercules plane crash in Georgia (picture-alliance/ZUMA Wire/Savannah Professional Firefighters)

The site of the Hercules plane crash in Georgia

Crash of Hercules WC-130 during last flight

Fatal military aviation accidents have reached a six-year high, according to an investigation by the Military Times news outlet. There have been 11 deadly crashes and one fatal ground incident since the start of the current fiscal year on October 1, 2017, the paper said, adding that 35 people have died.

Read more: Was US boss Dag Hammarskjold killed in attack on plane?

Most recently, a Puerto Rico National Guard cargo plane crashed into a highway near Savannah, Georgia, killing all nine people aboard last Wednesday. The 53-year-old Hercules WC-130 was reportedly on its last flight before being retired.

Last month, a pilot from the elite Thunderbird team died when his F-16 crashed in Nevada. Four other servicemen were killed in two separate Apache helicopter crashes in January and March.

dj/se (Reuters, AFP)

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