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Jet Jettisons Bombs and Tanks Before Landing Safely at El Toro

November 14, 1986|From United Press International

A Marine Corps attack jet experiencing engine trouble today jettisoned half a dozen 500-pound bombs and two fuel tanks over the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro in Orange County before landing safely, a military official said.

The six Mark-82 high-explosive 500-pound bombs were safely defused on the ground, Gunnery Sgt. Kathy Cabot said. Six Mark-76 dummy practice bombs were also jettisoned.

One of the fuel tanks burst into flames on impact, but the fire was quickly extinguished by a Marine crash crew. The other fuel tank was recovered without incident, Cabot said.

Neither of the plane's two crew members was injured.

Cabot said the Grumman A-6E jet was taking off on a routine training flight at about 7:15 a.m. when it developed engine trouble.

In order to land safely, the pilot jettisoned the bombs and fuel tanks carried externally on the craft, Cabot said.

"The crew did everything by the book and following standard operating procedures, they kept within base perimeter and prevented any loss of life or property outside the federal property," Cabot said.

While crews worked to defuse the bombs, the California Highway Patrol closed Trabuco Road, the main thoroughfare leading into the base, as a precaution, Cabot said.

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