From: Reuters
Published April 4, 2008 05:18 PM

U.S. B-1 bomber catches fire in Qatar, crew unhurt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. B-1 bomber caught fire after landing at an air base in Qatar on Friday but the crew escaped without injury, the Air Force said.

Fire erupted as the plane taxied after landing at al Udeid Air Base around 1:10 p.m. EDT after what the Air Force described as "a ground incident."

"The crew evacuated the aircraft and is safe. The fire was contained," the Air Force said in a statement.

A board of inquiry has been appointed to investigate.

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Earlier, a U.S. defense official said the B-1 had crashed and that the cause was unknown. The official was responding to report on Qatar-based Al Jazeera television that said the plane was a B-52.

The B-1 is a long-range bomber aircraft capable of flying intercontinental missions without refueling and is able to penetrate sophisticated defensive networks.

U.S. defense officials gave few details about the incident, saying they did not know how many people were on board or what mission the bomber was conducting.

(Reporting by Kristin Roberts and David Morgan, Editing by Chris Wilson)

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