Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Week in Review : MAJOR EVENTS, IMAGES AND PEOPLE IN ORANGE COUNTY NEWS : AT THE SCENE : Jettisoned Bombs Marked a Mission Cut Short

November 16, 1986|Times staff writer Bob Schwartz compiled the Week in Review stories

A fighter jet experiencing engine trouble Friday jettisoned six 500-pound, high-explosive bombs, six inert practice bombs and two fuel tanks over the Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro.

The aircraft then landed safely at the base.

Although the bombs were unarmed and did not explode, military officials asked the California Highway Patrol to close a section of Trabuco Road along the eastern border of the base for about half an hour during the incident Friday morning.

Lt. Shawn Cooper, a Marine spokeswoman, said there was little danger that the live bombs would explode. They could not have exploded unless the plane's bombardier-navigator had pushed a button to activate them, she said. They also will not explode unless dropped from a certain minimum free-fall altitude, and these bombs hit the runway from a height of only 50 feet, Cooper said.

The bombs landed on a base runway about 170 yards from Irvine Boulevard, which becomes Trabuco Road, and were defused by a Marine Corps ordnance team, Cooper said. Although one of the fuel tanks burst into flames on impact, emergency crews, waiting at the drop site, quickly extinguished the fire.

Officials from the City of Irvine, which borders the military base to the west and south, expressed concern about the incident when they learned about it late Friday from newspaper reporters. "I was not notified (by the Marine Corps)," said Irvine Police Chief Leo Peart. "I would have liked to have been notified."

Cooper said the A-6E jet had taken off about 7:15 a.m. from Runway 7 for a routine training mission near the desert community of Twentynine Palms, but experienced engine problems immediately.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|