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Lucky escape for crew as tanker jet crashes

Three crew members aboard a Boeing 707 tanker loaded with jet fuel escaped with only minor injuries when the aircraft skidded off the runway and exploded into flames at a Southern California Navy base, officials said.

The plane crashed as it was taking off from Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu at about 5.25pm yesterday. It slid to a halt within a few hundred feet of the Pacific and burst into flames, with thick black smoke pouring out the shattered wreck.

All three crew on board were civilian employees. Reid did not have any details on how they were able to escape the inferno.

Though a helicopter dumped multiple loads of water on the plane, the wreckage continued to burn for more than three hours.