FL - Missile Fin Falls off, Lands Near Panhandle Kids

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Missile Fin Falls off, Lands Near Panhandle Kids The Associated Press Published: Aug 20, 2001

VALPARAISO, Fla. (AP) - A 10-pound missile fin fell into a residential neighborhood where it nearly hit two children, a television station has reported, and the Air Force was trying to find out why Monday. The fin fell from an unarmed missile being carried by a jet fighter during a landing approach to nearby Eglin Air Force Base on Friday evening, said Tech. Sgt. David Donato, a base spokesman.

No one was hurt and there was no property damage, but Keith Cash told WEAR-TV of Pensacola on Saturday that the piece landed within 10 feet of his daughter and another child while they were taking a walk. Cash said he called Eglin that night but declined an Air Force lawyer's request to immediately turn over the wing.

"I said 'I'd talk to my lawyer 'cause you almost killed my kid,' " Cash told the television station.

"Our safety office is conducting an investigation and has suspended the testing of this particular missile until the investigation is complete," Donato said. That is expected to take about a week.

The fin was from an AGM-188 high-speed anti-radiation missile, or HARM, that homes in on enemy radar. It is used to knock out radar-guided, anti-aircraft missile and gun installations.

The missile was being carried on the wing of an F-16 Fighting Falcon from Eglin's 46th Test Wing. The jet was returning from a weapons testing mission that did not call for the missile to be launched, Donato said.

"It is in our interest to ensure that in accomplishing our mission that it does not jeopardize the safety of the public or cause undo discomfort to our community," he said.


-- Doris (nocents@bellsouth.net), August 21, 2001

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