The crew of a US military cargo plane that civilians desperately clung to before plunging to their deaths during the chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan have been cleared of any wrongdoing, according to a report.
Ten months after the disturbing scene was filmed, the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations told Military.com on Monday that the crew flying the C-17 Globemaster III did nothing wrong after taking off. from Hamid Karzai International Airport. in Kabul.
The probe was announced last August after human remains were found in the plane’s wheel well after the plane landed at a base in Qatar. It is unclear when a decision on the case was made.
The Office of Special Investigations told Military.com that the crew worked “during an unprecedented evacuation where resources were limited to ongoing security and evacuation activities.
“The Offices of the Staff Judge Advocate at Air Mobility Command and United States Central Command conducted a review of the findings of the investigation and issued concurring opinions that the crew was in compliance with the rules of ‘commitment applicable specific to the event and the general law of armed conflict,’ said Linda Card, spokeswoman for the Office of Special Investigations.
Before the eventful departure, the plane was surrounded by Afghans seeking refuge from the Taliban in the final days of America’s longstanding presence in the country.
Images of civilians falling from the plane after takeoff quickly became a symbol of the disorderly departure. It is unclear how many civilians died as a result of the jarring scene.
Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Military.com the crew made the right call and were flying again.
“The airmanship and quick-wittedness of the crew ensured the safety of the crew and their aircraft,” Stefanek said in a statement. “After seeking appropriate care and services to deal with any trauma from this unprecedented experience, the crew has returned to flight status.”
“It was a tragic event and our hearts go out to the families of the deceased,” Stefanek added.