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Two Air Force Pilots Killed in Afghanistan Plane Crash Identified

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The two Air Force pilots killed in the crash of their Bombardier E-11A electronic surveillance plane in Afghanistan have been identified as Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss, 46, of Yigo, Guam, and Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf, 30, of Hudson, New Hampshire.

According to Fox News, Voss was assigned to Air Combat Command headquarters at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia; and Phaneuf was assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.

Col. David A. Doss, 28th Bomb Wing commander, said: “This is a tragic loss to the Air Force and our Ellsworth Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the member’s family, friends and co-workers as we all come to terms with this tragedy. Every uniformed and civilian Airman assigned to Ellsworth is a valuable member of our team and this Airman will be greatly missed by all. Please respect the family’s privacy as we concentrate on caring for them and our team during this difficult time.”

While the cause of the crash is still being investigated, officials said there is no indication that the plane was downed by hostile action. “I’m pretty confident there was no enemy action involved. Aircraft mishaps happen,” said Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command. He added that as far as he knows, the U.S. troops did not meet any resistance going to the site.

According to CNN, a defense official had previously told them that there was an indication that the crew had made a distress call, a sign of some type of trouble with the aircraft, prior to its crashing.

“The main resistance was from the weather, which was really significant back there,” McKenzie said, adding that “appropriate precautions” were taken in moving the recovery team to the site “because the last thing you want to do is have another mishap or have other people lose their lives in attempt to get up there.”

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