Human remains found in C-17’s wheel well after Afghanistan departure; Air Force investigating

The Air Force has opened a formal review of what led a C-17 transport plane to take off from Afghanistan’s main international airport with people clinging to its landing gear — a scene that resulted in Afghan civilians falling to their deaths.

Video showing those deaths and capturing other chaos that unfolded Monday at Hamid Karzai International Airport has been watched by audiences around the world, and the Pentagon says the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) is now conducting a “thorough” examination of the incident.

The Air Force said in a statement Tuesday that human remains were discovered in the wheel well of the C-17 once it had returned from Kabul to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

The Air Force statement said the C-17 now under review was surrounded on the runway in Kabul before the aircraft’s crew was able to offload the plane’s cargo. Throngs of Afghans had flooded the tarmac in a scene of panic and chaos before the C-17 had landed.

“Faced with a rapidly deteriorating security situation around the aircraft, the C-17 crew decided to depart the airfield as quickly as possible,” the Air Force said, according to Air Force Magazine and other reports.

“Alongside our joint force, interagency, and international partners, the U.S. Air Force remains laser-focused on maintaining security at [Hamid Karzai International Airport] to prevent a situation like this from happening again as we safely process Afghan civilians seeking to depart the country,” the Air Force said.

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