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Fire on military transport plane forces emergency landing in Highfill

by Tom Sissom | November 9, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.
FILE -- A commercial plane lands, Friday, January 23, 2021 at the Northwest Arkansas National Airport in Bentonville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)

HIGHFILL -- A fire on a military transport plane forced the aircraft to make an emergency landing Monday afternoon at Northwest Arkansas National Airport.

A Lockheed C-130 Hercules landed around 2:30 p.m. with two pilots on board, according to airport spokeswoman Alex English. There were no injuries reported.

The plane is based at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville and belongs to the 314th Airlift Wing at the base, according to Capt. Jessica Cicchetto of the base's Public Affairs Office. "We can confirm all crew members are safe and accounted for," Cicchetto said in an email.

The airport's Fire Department responded with trucks to the runway and extinguished the fire without incident, English said. The aircraft was still being towed off the runway at 4 p.m. English said she had no other information about the aircraft. A later post on the airport's Facebook page reported the runway was open to normal traffic.

Three incoming flights had been diverted due to the runway being closed, and a number of departures had been delayed by late afternoon Monday, according to the airport's website. English didn't know how long it might take to remove the C-130.

"We're hoping to get the runway open as fast as possible," she said. "Obviously, it's a very large aircraft, and they have to be careful with the towing process."

English said she has been with the airport for two years and in that time there have been a number of small, private planes making emergency landings, but no other military planes or planes from any of the airlines serving the airport have had to make emergency landings.

Cicchello said the incident is being investigated by the Air Force and no further details would be released.

The C-130 primarily is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas, according to the Air Force website.

Print Headline: Fire on military transport plane forces emergency landing

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