B-1B Bomber Crashes In South Dakota

Details are extremely limited at this time, but there has been a major incident at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota. A B-1B crashed while attempting to land at the base this evening, with all crew ejecting safely. Ellsworth is one of two master bases that house the B-1B ‘Bone’ bomber fleet.

The statement from the public affairs office for the 28th Bomb Wing, the main unit at Ellsworth, reads:

An Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to Ellsworth Air Force Base crashed at approximately 5:50 p.m. today while attempting to land on the installation. At the time of the accident, it was on a training mission. There were four aircrew on board. All four ejected safely.

A board of officers will investigate the accident.

Additional details will be provided as they become available. For questions regarding this incident, contact the 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs Office at (605) 385-5056, or by e-mail at 28bw.public.affairs@us.af.mil.

Ellsworth AFB via Facebook

Word began to circulate on social media and local news that some sort of incident was occurring at the base, with some accounts claiming a B-1B had crashed there. The base was subsequently closed down to air traffic. Weather at the base is currently poor, with dense freezing fog present.

The B-1B force has been downsized from 62 to 45 airframes in recent years in order to distribute funds to other priorities and to keep the remaining jets in better flying order. Flight envelope restrictions have also been put on the fleet to extend the lives of the swing-wing jets as efficiently as possible until their replacement, the B-21 Raider, is online in significant numbers. Still, the B-1s are receiving additional upgrades in the form of new avionics and weapons, which could include hypersonic cruise missiles.

An Ellsworth B-1B flying off a tanker’s wing. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Mr. Ken Stephens

The B-1Bs have suffered a number of mishaps in recent years, especially in regard to incidents of engine fire.

We will update this post with more information as it becomes available.

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com