Emergency bomb drop rattles Nellis neighbors

The pilot of an A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jet released two 500-pound bombs Friday morning in a safe zone five miles north of Nellis Air Force Base in an emergency procedure after an engine malfunctioned, base officials said.

At least one of the Mark-82 general purpose bombs exploded and was felt at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which is near the base.

"We didn't hear it but we felt it a little bit. We felt it a shake the building," said Las Vegas Motor Speedway spokesman Jeff Motley. "We thought somebody dropped something really heavy on the roof."

The warplane from the 66th Weapons Squadron landed safely at the Air Force base at 10:07 a.m. after the in-flight emergency, according to a Nellis news release.

There were no injuries or property damage that Nellis officials are aware of, base spokesman Chuck Ramey said.

Explosive ordnance disposal personnel assigned to the base responded to the site, known as Jettison Hill, to render the area safe.

"There was at least one detonation. We're not sure about the other," Ramey said.

He said the restricted, Jettison Hill area is permanently withdrawn public land that is specifically set aside for emergency bomb drops.

The aircraft experienced an engine problem shortly after taking off from the base and the pilot followed emergency procedures by avoiding populated areas and executing a controlled jettison of the two bombs, Ramey said.

Contact reporter Keith Rogers at krogers@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0308.