Missing plane `has no link with Oklahoma bomb'

With rumours still flying thick and fast about the mysterious disappearance of an A-10 fighter plane over the western United States, no less a figure than the chairman of the armed forces chiefs of staff, General John Shalikashvili, has found it necessary to reject one of the more bizarre theories advanced.

The four-star general, the Pentagon's most senior military officer, said he had been following the search for the plane with interest, but did not see any connection between the missing plane and the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City two years ago. "I do not have enough information," he said, "to lead me to believe that there's somehow a connection between that incident in Oklahoma City ... and the disappearance of this airplane."

Gen Shalikashvili did, however, say that security was being increased around the Denver courthouse, where jury selection is in progress for the trial of Timothy McVeigh, the man accused of masterminding the bombing. Today is the second anniversary of the attack, which killed 168 people, and also the fourth anniversary of the Waco disaster, in which 80 people died when FBI officers tried to storm the Branch Davidian compound.

Intriguingly, the general also confirmed that additional security measures had been introduced at the North American Aerospace Defence Command in Colorado because there had been "an indication" of a security threat to the installation.

General Shalikashvili's denial was a response to speculation that the pilot of the missing A-10, Captain Craig Button, stole the plane - which was armed with four bombs - in order to stage some spectacular action for the Oklahoma City anniversary. This theory assumes that Capt Button may have sympathised with the illegal right-wing militia group with which Timothy McVeigh was supposedly involved - something that has been vigorously denied by those who knew him.

Theories such as this, and the even more far-fetched idea that Capt Button's A-10 might have been abducted by aliens, proliferate on the Internet. The problem for the military is that information about heightened security seems only to support the theories, and as yet the air force has been able to produce no compelling evidence to refute them.

Despite deploying the most sophisticated search techniques, including U2 spy planes and AWACS aircraft, it has failed to trace the plane, which went missing on 2 April after breaking away from a routine training exercise over Arizona. Air force officials blame the thick snow in the region of Eagle, Colorado, where some say they heard a possible plane crash at the time the plane would have run out of fuel. The air force now says, however, that it has no "seismic indications" of a crash in the area and will call off the search until the snow melts if nothing is found by Tuesday.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada