An Air Force jet malfunctioned on a training mission, dropping a live bomb that exploded in woods near a cluster of homes, officials said Friday.
No one was injured when the 500-pound bomb exploded about 3:15 p.m. Thursday near this west Georgia community, said Capt. Cynthia Nelson, a spokeswoman for Moody Air Force Base, where the F-16 Fighting Falcon jet is stationed.Nelson said the bomb exploded about 1,000 yards from a cluster of homes in the Marion County town. The bomb destroyed a clump of pine trees and left a small crater, she said.
One women who lives near the bomb site said she was unaware of the accident until she saw television news accounts of the explosion.
"We have always known they were going to get us one of these days," said the woman, who asked not to be identified. "They come in so close to the tops of the trees and drop those things on the range. Just a little bit of error, and they'll hit us."
Nelson said the jet was one of six Moody Air Force Base F-16s flying training missions at Fort Benning in Columbus. The jets were supposed to jettison their bombs at a military exercise range on Fort Benning.
Bombs on five of the planes worked perfectly, but the sixth plane did not release its bomb. As the pilot returned for a second attempt, the bomb fell off the plane and exploded on impact, she said.
Air Force officials have impounded the plane to determine whether mechanical failure or pilot error caused the accidental bombing, Nelson said.