F-16 In Trouble Bombs Hill Air Force Base

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No one was killed, but there were explosions after an F-16 dropped two external fuel tanks and munitions (including a 500-pound bomb) onto an unpopulated area of Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Thursday. The event took place just before 4 p.m. at Hill Air Force Base. The pilot later landed safely and the 500-pounder did not explode on impact, but other munitions that were supposedly unarmed did. As a result, a work shed near an ordnance facility was blown up as was a nearby transformer, which caused a brief base-wide power outage. The fuel tanks and bombs which fell on the base landed roughly 2,500 feet from Interstate 15, which was affected as officials accounted for the explosives. Some 500 gallons of jet fuel in the drop tanks leaked onto the grounds and, until Saturday, the 500-pound bomb was resting under 17 feet of earth.

Local residents were then told to expect sights and sounds associated with detonating the 500-pound bomb, which delivered on those promises in a controlled blast. The F-16 pilot became aware of the emergency during takeoff and base officials said he followed procedure in jettisoning the load. Soil contaminated by the jet fuel will be excavated to minimize environmental damage.