BEALE AIR FORCE BASE (CBS) – American flags fly at half-staff in the neighborhood of a deceased airman. Taps plays over the public announcement system at Beale Air Force Base for the second night in a row.
Lt. Col. Ira Eadie, a seasoned airman, died during a training mission in the Sutter buttes Tuesday morning.
It’s not clear what went wrong shortly after take off.
Col. Danielle Barnes the Commander of Mission Support says Lt Col Eadie and his co-pilot ejected from the U-2 spy plane and deployed their parachutes. The plane crashed.
“There was a plume of smoke that you could see from miles away,” said Sutter County Under Sheriff Jeff Pierce. He and his team were some of the first at the scene.
“This is unique because it’s not often that you have an aircraft especially a military aircraft that goes down,” said Pierce.
While Sutter County firefighters fought the wildfire started by the crash, police searched for the pilots alongside approximately 60 people from Beale Air Force Base.
“Care for those security force personnel and also care for the the investigation team,” said Barnes.
The injured pilot was found by crews on ATV’s and taken to a hospital and is stable. Lt. Col. Eadie died.
“My focus right now is to make sure that my airman are cared for and continue to support the investigative and recovery phase,” said Barnes.
Eadie’s father tells a Jacksonville news station that his son was a father of six and a 20-year veteran who’d been stationed in California with his family for the last six years.