Tuesday, 21 February 2012, 08:28 GMT
Four killed in US spy plane crash: US military

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta arrives at the Djibouti International Airport to visits troops at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti in 2011./ AFP

AFP

Four American special operations personnel were killed over the weekend in the crash of their aircraft in Djibouti as it returned from a mission, the US military said Monday.

The U-28, a modified single engine turbo prop plane used by special operations units, crashed Saturday near Camp Lemonnier, a base used by the US military in the tiny Horn of Africa state.

The Pentagon identified the victims as Captain Ryan Hall, 30, Captain Nicholas Whitlock, First Lieutenant Justin Wilkins, and senior airman Julian Scholten, 26.

The four were based in Hulbert Field, Florida where they were assigned to special operations and intelligence squadrons.

The US Africa Command said the U-28 was on a "routine flight" when it went down six miles (10 kilometers) from the Djibouti International Airport.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.