The following is portion of an article from the Rapid City Journal:

 

BROADUS, Mont. | If there's one thing Brandon Packard doesn't want to repeat in his life, it's to be ejected at 200 mph from a crashing bomber.

 

Those were the words that Chris Gnerer, a rancher in the rolling hills of southeastern Montana, remembers hearing from one of the Ellsworth Air Force crew members he helped rescue on Monday, only hours after their B-1B bomber began to disintegrate in midair.

 

Gnerer, a lean 33-year-old, was driving a dirt bike on the northern side of his 2,000-acre ranch that morning. It was clear day; warm and getting warmer.

 

He was searching for stray cattle around 9 a.m. when an orange flame caught his eye. Gnerer turned to see an object explode in mid-air about seven miles away.

 

Gnerer was awestruck as he watched the object split into two flaming pieces. One exploded in a mushroom cloud on a neighboring ranch. The other quickly joined it, producing a matching cloud.

 

Panicking, Gnerer called his wife. Krista Gnerer, a part-time nurse, was working in a town about 30 miles away that day.

 

Gnerer told her he had seen something — a comet, a piece of the sun, just something — fall from the sky. He thought the world might be ending.

 

Gnerer told his wife he would call her back and hung up.

 

After the initial shock subsided, he realized the crashing object was probably a plane. Perhaps one of the military's B-1B Lancers that train over the area regularly.

 

He called his neighbors — spread at 10- and 15-mile intervals from his own property — to warn them of a potential fire. At this time of year in the Montana plains, wildfires can spark easily and spread rapidly across the dry grass and sage brush.

 

CLICK HERE to read the remainder of this article.

 

 

Source:  Rapid City Journal

Posted by Haylie Shipp

 

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