The brother of a Kailua man killed in April when his Air Force jet crashed in Afghanistan was himself involved in an air mishap Monday, but survived when his B-1B Lancer bomber crashed in southeast Montana.
The public affairs office at Ellsworth Air Force Base on Tuesday said that Capt. Chad Nishizuka was part of a four-man crew that sustained non-life threatening injuries and are being treated or have been released from medical facilities. Nishizuka is an instructor weapon systems officer on the B1-B bomber and brother of Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka, 30, the pilot who was killed April 27 near Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan in the crash of an MC-12 aircraft.
The Air Force declined to release additional details about individual members of the crew out of respect for their families.
The B-1B was flying a training mission when it crashed in a remote area within the Air Force’s Powder River Training Complex near Broadus, Mont., about 30 minutes after lifting off from Ellsworth.
When they ejected, the B-1B crew was strapped into Advanced Concept Ejection Seats known as ACES II. The seat’s parachute automatically inflates within two to six seconds.
Reid Nishizuka was assigned to the 427th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, Calif. His plane crashed in Zabul province, about 110 miles northeast of Kandahar Air Field. There was no enemy activity in the area at the time.
Reid Nishizuka was flying the Air Force’s MC-12W Liberty — a medium- to low-altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft. Its primary mission is providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support directly to ground forces.
The Air Force on Tuesday said Chad Nishizuka’s B-1B bomber crashed near Broadus, Mont. Other crew members are: Maj. Frank Biancardi II, and Capt. Curtis Michael, instructor pilots; and Capt. Brandon Packard, instructor weapon systems officer.
All four crew members ejected from the plane before it crashed, landing by parachute about a mile from the wreckage.
Witnesses told the Rapid City Journal that the crash occurred around 7:30 a.m. They describe seeing the plane disintegrate in mid-air before it crashed, scattering debris over several miles.
The Federal Aviation Administration has restricted flights to military aircraft only within a 10-mile radius of the crash site. The air space above the crash zone is closed indefinitely, according to the FAA.