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The C-130 aircraft crashed Sunday night while fighting the White Draw Fire near Edgemont, South Dakota, the U.S. Northern Command said.
Military officials said there were deaths in the crash and that there were six crew members on the plane but did not give specific information about the deaths. Family members, however, told CNN affiliate WBTV-TV that two members of the crew died in the crash and identified them as Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal and Master Sgt. Robert Cannon.
On Saturday, a smiling Mikeal told reporters that he was looking forward to helping out in the effort to quell the growing fires.
"It's very exciting. Adrenaline is flowing," Mikeal said. "We are ready to go. We have been watching the news and seeing everything that's going on out there. We have been waiting for the call."
A hospital official at South Dakota's Rapid City Regional Hospital on Monday night said two other members of the crew were critically injured in the crash and identified one as Josh Marlowe.
Marlowe has served in the Afghanistan war three times and has an 8-week-old son, Marlowe's stepmother, Kim Marlowe, told the affiliate.
Kim Marlowe said his condition was improving at the hospital.
"He fought in so many wars and it is my faith that I know that God brought him through all that and will bring him through this," she said. "I just want him to know that I love him, and we're praying for him to come back home. I'm just asking for people to pray for him and families that weren't as fortunate."
It was not immediately clear what injuries the other crew members sustained.
Source: CNN Wire