3 Wyoming Wing aircrew members killed in CAP crash

HOUSTON -- A Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 "Airvan," aircraft accelerates down the runway on take-off.  It is one of the Civil Air Patrol aircraft that came to West Houston Airport to support the assessment of Hurricane Rita. The GA-8 is the latest aircraft in the CAP inventory. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)

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MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala -- Three members of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol's Wyoming Wing were killed Monday (Aug. 20) when the CAP Cessna 182 they were flying during a search mission crashed at about 4 p.m. approximately 30 miles west of Sheridan, Wyo.

Killed in the crash were pilot Lt. Col. James H. Henderson, 59, of Cowley, Wyo., and a member of the Wyoming Wing Headquarters, and crew member Sr. Mbr. James R. Meyer, 53, of Sheridan, Wyo., a member of the wing's Cloud Peak Composite Squadron.

The identification of the third crew member is being withheld pending next of kin notification.

The three CAP members were involved in a search generated by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., for a missing 16-year-old fisherman, who has since been located. The crew departed the Sheridan Airport in Sheridan, Wyo. at about 1:30 p.m. MDT for a two-hour mission. When they failed to return on time the Wyoming Wing incident commander notified AFRCC officials and an overdue aircraft search was immediately initiated.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency's satellite-aided tracking system detected no signals indicating a downed plane, and no aircrews reported hearing a beacon, however at 7:28 p.m. MDT a U.S. Forest Service helicopter responding to reports of a wildfire located the crash site near where the CAP aircrew had been conducting its search mission.

The site has been secured by the Sheridan County Sheriff's Department.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

Additional details concerning the accident will be made available as soon as they become available.