A loose nut caused $62.4 million in damage, an Air Force report determined
Additionally, 27 airmen were put at risk, investigators found
An Air Force reconnaissance airplane caught fire in April, endangering the lives of 27 airmen aboard the plane – all because a retaining nut connecting oxygen tubing was not tightened properly, accident investigators have determined. The report blamed a private defense contracting company for the accident.
“Failure by L-3 Communications depot maintenance personnel to tighten a retaining nut connecting a metal oxygen tube to a junction fitting above the galley properly caused an oxygen leak. This leak created a highly flammable oxygen-rich environment that ignited,” U.S. Air Force investigators wrote in report published August 3.
Investigators determined the ensuing fire caused $62.4 millon in damage to the RC-135V, which electronically snoops on adversaries and relays gathered intelligence to commanders.
L-3 Communications spokesman Bruce Rogowski declined comment and referred questions to the Air Force.