An Omega Boeing 707 Omega air refuelling tanker similar to that which had recently been chartered by the RAAF has crashed near California’s Point Mugu Naval Air Station, bursting into flames after an attempted takeoff went wrong.
KABC reports that witnesses saw “large plumes of black smoke” after the 707 slid off the runway and onto on a beach near NAS Point Mugu around 1730 hours PDT on Wednesday May 18. It is believed the 707 was carrying 150,000 pounds of jet fuel, but all three crew members escaped with only minor injuries.
Several firefighting agencies assisted in extinguishing the blaze from both the air and ground, while NAS Point Mugu issued a flight-restricted-area designation, requiring any aircraft to maintain a distance of at least 5 miles from the crash site. The cause of the accident remains under investigation by authorities.
Omega operates two 707 tanker transports (plus a DC-10) which the RAAF regularly charters for air refuelling taskings in lieu of the delayed delivery of its own KC-30 tankers.