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No decision yet on air show cancellation, Air Force says

Lisa DemerAlaska Dispatch News

A decision should be made today whether to cancel this weekend's planned Arctic Thunder air show at Elmendorf Air Force Base in light of the fatal crash on base, an Air Force official said early this morning.

A C-17 practicing for the Arctic Thunder show crashed about a minute after takeoff Wednesday evening, killing the three Alaska Air Guard and one active-duty Air Force crew members on board, said Col. Jack McMullen, commander of Elmendorf's 3rd Wing.

"We're still continuing with the planning and the inbound of folks coming in and we'll make a decision today, hopefully sometime today, of whether or not we're going to continue with the air show itself," McMullen told reporters this morning outside the Boniface gate to Elmendorf.

"What's best for the wing, what's best for the community is kind of what we're looking at to try and do the right thing," he said. "Obviously this is a huge tragedy but at some point we're going to need to get up and we're going to need to press on and move forward."

The air show and open house are hugely popular. This year's announced headline acts are the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the Canadian Armed Forces Snowbirds. In the past, the air show has drawn the largest two-day crowds in Alaska.

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