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      Everyone safe after emergency aircraft landing in Sawyer

      UPDATE: TV6 News has learned maintenance personnel are heading for Upper Michigan to repair the KC-135R tanker plane at Sawyer International Airport. They're based at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee at the 128th Air Refueling Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard.

      The KC-135R aircraft declared an in flight emergency and landed safely at Sawyer International Tuesday night.

      The maintenance crew is scheduled to a arrive late Wednesday afternoon to make repairs. There's no word on how long that will take.

      A second KC-135 landed Tuesday evening to pick up the air crew.


      Crews at Sawyer International Airport had quite the scare late Tuesday afternoon.

      At 5:20p.m., an Air National Guard KC135 Refueling airplane made an emergency landing at Sawyer International Airport.

      "It was just a minor hydraulic issue. Of course caution is the lead reason we went all out with the fire trucks," said Duane Duray, Sawyer International Airport Manager.

      As soon as it rolled onto the tarmac, the aircraft was greeted by about a dozen fire trucks, ambulances, and police.

      "We're fortunate that we didn't have an accident occur. The aircraft came in, landed safely. A lot more hustle and bustle going with other responding agencies. It was good to see they were all able to make it out and have a better ending than a big fire crash," said John Rowe, Firefighting Training Officer for Sawyer International Airport.

      The aircraft's three crew members had come from Milwaukee on a training flight, but ran into trouble with some minor hydraulic issues.

      The plane was carrying 6,000 gallons of jet fuel.

      Erring on the side of caution, the crew requested to land at Sawyer.

      "We responded appropriately. We had 9-1-1 dispatched, they called out all the troops. I could tell you it worked superbly. I got a text. A handful of our staff are on a text message system where 9-1-1 dispatch hits send and it alerted staff and everybody came running," said Duray.

      Rowe says he's thankful that his crew responded so well.

      He says they train year-round for all scenarios, but rarely see any emergencies like today.

      Rowe and Duray both say they are proud of the Sawyer crew, and thankful to the other responding agencies, who all contributed to the successful ending.

      "You're more likely to be involved in a vehicle incident versus an aircraft incident. I mean, the likelihood is slim to none. Flying is pretty safe, but anything can happen," said Rowe.

      The airplane will remain overnight Tuesday at Sawyer International Airport.

      The Air National Guard came shortly after the landing to pick up the three crew members.

      Wednesday, a new crew and maintenance crew from the Air National Guard will come in to fix airplane and fly it off grounds.