In-flight emergency prompts aircraft to dump fuel in Westmoreland County

Shortly before 6:40 a.m., an in-flight emergency prompted an aircraft with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 171st Air Refueling Wing to make an emergency landing Saturday, which required the dumping of fuel over Westmoreland County.

According to a release, the crew reported smoke in the cockpit which required an immediate emergency landing of the KC-135 Strato-tanker. The fuel was dumped over Westmoreland County per emergency protocols, the release states, out of necessity to lighten the weight of the aircraft and ensure a safe landing. The plane safely landed at Pittsburgh International Airport.

The 171st Air Refueling Wing is cooperating with appropriate agencies to ascertain the effects and required follow-up actions to address the dumped fuel, according to the release.

Col. Mark Goodwill, commander of the 171st Air Refueling Wing, stated “We pride ourselves on being good neighbors to our surrounding communities. We will conduct a thorough investigation to minimize the chances of such an occurrence from happening again.”