Tanker Plane Still Grounded at Sawyer

The tanker jet that carried 5 Ukrainian nationals with expired visas to Sawyer Airport Friday is still grounded.

The last time we heard from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, those 5 crew members were still being held in the Chippewa County Jail in the Soo.

There’s no word yet on when their visas ran out.

They need to get new visas to leave Sawyer in their plane.

If they don’t get new visas, they’ll be deported on a commercial plane.

A new pilot will then have to be found to get the tanker out of Sawyer.

Until either of those things happen, the tanker will just sit on the tarmac.

The FAA approved the plane’s flight plan from Texas to Sawyer.

The itinerary then took it to Iceland and from there to Pakistan.

Federal officials say the plane is being decommissioned from military use and refitted to civilian use as a firefighting tanker.