Air National Guard plane makes emergency landing at Sawyer

An Air National Guard plane made an emergency landing at Sawyer International Airport Tuesday afternoon.

A Boeing KC-135 refuel jet called the airport to request a landing due to a minor hydraulic issue.  The plane, flying from Milwaukee, chose Sawyer International Airport due to its long runway and location.  It landed safely on the runway around 5:30.

Three crew members were on board and the aircraft was carrying 6,000 gallons of fuel.

“That was the primary reason where we called out as many responding agencies just do to the fact that with that much fuel, we could have quite the incident,” Sawyer International Airport manager Duane DuRay said.

Sawyer was notified about 25 minutes before the plane was about to land, so the proper 911 and emergency personnel were able to get on scene with plenty of time to prepare.

“(It was) a very good test of the system,” DuRay said.  “Again, I can only praise Marquette’s 911 dispatch and all the responding agencies.  We’ve planned for this, we’ve trained for this, and thankfully everything went through just as planned, and everybody walks away with just a feeling of satisfaction that it went as well as it did.”

DuRay he believes it is part of the Air National Guard’s touch and go training.  He said during the procedure, airmen land and almost immediately take off again.  According to DuRay, the crew was already flying in the vicinity of Sawyer when it experienced the minor glitch.

There is no official word from the Air National Guard on exactly what happened.

DuRay added the plane will stay at the airport overnight.  A maintenance airplane and a new crew will arrive Wednesday to fix the aircraft.