A North Carolina-based Air National Guard cargo plane crashed in the southwest corner of South Dakota, July 1, 2012. The aircraft had been dropping flame retardant to aid the fire fighting missions against the White Draw Fire. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anania Tekurio/Released)
Eyewitness News now knows why four North Carolina airmen crashed fighting fires in South Dakota back in July.
The military released its investigative report. The report blames a microburst, described as a severe wind gust that blasts down from a thunderstorm.
A military news release says the report also blames "the failure of the Lead Plane and Air Attack aircrews to communicate critical operational information; as well as conflicting operational guidance concerning thunderstorm avoidance."
Four airmen died: Senior Master Sgt. Robert Cannon, Major Ryan Scott David, Major Joseph McCormick, and Colonel Paul Mikeal.
Wednesday afternoon, just by coincidence, UNCC held a memorial service for Mikeal, a graduate of the school. WSOC spoke with his wife, Marlo.
"When I met Paul, I knew he wasn't dating material, he was marriage material. You know those things right off and we had a wonderful life together and we were great partners and I miss him more and more every day," she said.
The North Carolina Air National Guard emailed a statement, saying it will review the "findings carefully to do all it can to ensure future tragedies do not happen."