A Canadian CF-18 Hornet aircraft dropped its external fuel tanks and made an emergency landing at Nellis Air Force Base today shortly after taking off from McCarran International Airport, Nellis officials said.
The Hornet was en route to El Centro, Calif., when it declared an in-flight emergency shortly after noon and was directed to land at the base, a Nellis spokesman said.
The Hornet jettisoned its external fuel tanks, which landed on federal property 15 miles north of Nellis and one mile west of Interstate 15. Civilians were on the ground about 600 yards from the fuel tanks’ landing site. None of them was injured. The incident is under investigation.
One of the Hornet’s engines may have failed, leading to the emergency landing, said Nellis spokesman Mike Estrada. It’s safer to land an aircraft without the additional weight of full fuel tanks, he said.