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Cascade County

Jun 23, 2012 2:27 PM by David Sherman (david@krtv.com)

Malmstrom airman dies following motorcycle accident

Josh Austin, the 27 year old airman from Malmstrom Air Force Base who was critically injured in a motorcycle accident southeast of Great Falls on Friday, has died, according to a press release from the base.

Austin was assigned to the 341st Civil Engineer Squadron.

Colonel Robert Stanley, the 341st Missile Wing vice commander, said, "We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our fellow Airmen. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and co-workers as they try to cope with this tragedy. Team Malmstrom will support them in every way possible."

According to Trooper Don Lee with the Montana Highway Patrol, Austin was traveling southbound on his Kawasaki motorcycle around 5 p.m. on Friday.

Witnesses told Trooper Lee that it appeared a gust of wind blew the motorcycle over; it then hit a guardrail and Austin was thrown from the motorcycle.

He was transported by Mercy Flight to Benefis hospital in Great Falls where he underwent surgery.

On Saturday, he was airlifted to a hospital in Seattle, where he later died.

We're told that he was wearing protective gear, including a helmet, and that alcohol was not a factor.

Family members have created a page for people to donate to help with expenses for his wife and two young children; click here.

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