An engine dropped out of a B-52 bomber during a training mission at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
The Air Force confirmed that one of the aircraft's eight engines dropped mid-flight for an unknown reason on J Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge land, located near Upham in Bottineau County, and is buried in snow in a river bed.
Air Force officials sent a helicopter to recover engine debris, which was found located in an unpopulated area about 28 miles northeast of Minot Air Force Base, an Air Force spokesperson told MyNDNow.com.
The incident occurred during a training flight at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota (pictured)
Air Force officials recovered engine debris, which was found on J Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge land (pictured), located near Upham in Bottineau County, and is buried in snow in a river bed
BOEING B-52 FACTS AND FIGURES
First flight: 1952
Length: 159 feet, 4 inches
Wingspan: 185 feet
Speed: 650 mph
Range: 8,800 miles without refueling
Armaments: 31,500 kilograms of ordnance, which can include bombs, mines and missiles
Inventory: 58 active, 18 reserve
Cost: US$84 million
Source: US Air Force
The bomber's five-member crew declared an in-flight emergency when the pilot discovered that an engine had dropped, an Air Force spokesperson said.
They were able to land the plane safely back at the base.
There were no weapons on board the bomber, and no injuries have been reported relating to the incident, which remains under investigation, according to the Air Force.
Col. Matthew Brooks, commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, established a safety investigation board to determine what caused the incident, according to Military.com.
The Boeing-manufactured bomber has been in use since 1952 and is expected to remain operating until 2040, when it'll be replaced by the Northrop Grumman's B-21.
There are 76 B-52's in the Air Force's inventory and are among the oldest in the fleet.
The B-52 was developed to carry nuclear weapons and has been adapted over the years. It's been used in missions from Vietnam War to Afghanistan.