More questions after 'bombing'

A SENIOR member of the shadow cabinet has called on the Government to investigate why a Suffolk-based American military jet accidentally dropped a dummy bomb over Yorkshire farmland.

A SENIOR member of the shadow cabinet has called on the Government to investigate why a Suffolk-based American military jet accidentally dropped a dummy bomb over Yorkshire farmland.

Military chiefs at RAF Lakenheath are investigating how a F-15E Strike Eagle somehow dropped a 25-pound BDU-33 munition during a routine training mission.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis, whose parliamentary constituency covers the site, has also called for a quick response from the Government.

Mr Davis, MP for Haltempriceand Howden, said: “I expect some quick answers to the many questions that this strange event raises. For example, why has it taken so long for the full details to emerge?


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“Has anything like this happened before? What procedure was carried out by the US Air Force after the mishap occurred?

“Local residents will find this accident very worrying. I am looking to the Government to provide timely answers to ensure people can sleep safe in their beds. Next time we may not be so lucky.

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“If the jet had been flying over a populated area, then even a dummy bomb could have caused a significant level of destruction and even death.”

An investigation has begun after pilots from the USAF base released an inactive bomb, which buried itself several feet in the ground and caused a hole measuring 18ins in diameter.

No one was injured after the device landed on a site near Holme upon Spalding Moor, East Yorkshire.

An investigation team, made up of officials from RAF Lakenheath, Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Humberside Police, visited the scene after Thursday's incident.

Base spokesman Lt Ed Ekpoudom said the base did not release the details of the incident until four days after because it was felt there was no threat to public safety.

He said: “Our investigation team visited the site on Friday and got back late the same day. We sent out a news release on the next business day - which was Monday .

“If we felt there was an issue of an imminent public threat or safety issue, we would have sent information out immediately. But it was a sparsely populated area and it was determined that there was no threat to any member of the public.”

Lt Ekpoudom was also quick to point out that the munition discharged a non-toxic white smoke upon impact and not toxic as reported previously.

A spokesman for the MoD said: “The US Air Force has an experienced team who are conducting a thorough investigation.

“The Ministry of Defence will be working closely with the US Air Force to prevent a reoccurrence of this incident but this type of incident is extremely rare.

Meanwhile, RAF Lakenheath's Liberty Wing squadron are currently carrying out a period of increased flying activity to meet tough guidelines.

Major Howard Redd , of the 48th Operations Support Squadron, said: “The primary reason fighter squadrons surge is to meet flying hours, sortie numbers and utilisation rate requirements that are set every fiscal year by US Air Forces in Europe.”

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