U.S. Air Force Boeing E-3B Sentry (707-300) from 522nd Air Control Wing (USAF) makes an emergency landing at Lincoln Airport after one of its engines caught fire mid-flight.
Cause and damage under investigation. The six crew members were not injured.
The call of an engine on fire came in shortly after 7:00 p.m. today. Several fire trucks can be seen from a distance.
The four-engine airborne warning and control system plane touched down around 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Lincoln Airport. Lincoln Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Dave Engler says the six people on board escaped safely and the fire was put out within 15 minutes.
According to the Air National Guard, who was called in to assist in the rescue, six people were on board and safely evacuated using the slide.
Lincoln Fire and Rescue were also called in to assist.
The Air National Guard says it isn’t rare to have a fire engine warning light come on, but for an engine to actually catch fire, it is extremely rare.
“Usually it’s a short in a wire or a failure there,” said Assistant Fire Chief Scott Osander. “And due to their speed and everything you can’t always see that the engine is actually on fire. As soon as he slowed down enough to land, then we saw he was on fire.”
Osander said the crew members onboard the plane did everything correctly in this situation.
“They’re extensively trained on situations like this, and they did what they were trained to do,” Osander said. “They landed, handed it over to us, and then we did what we were trained to do.”
The plane appears to be an AWACS or Airborne Warning & Control System aircraft and is now being towed back to a stall. Osander says it isn’t clear how long the plane will stay there, but says there will most likely be an armed guard standing by at all times until it is fixed.