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Loose nut costs Air Force $62.4 million
01:19 - Source: CNN

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A loose nut caused $62.4 million in damage, an Air Force report determined

Additionally, 27 airmen were put at risk, investigators found

Washington CNN  — 

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.