Monday, October 12, 2009

Rogue Insect (or Insecticon?) Causes U.S. Military Missile Payload Transporter Vehicle to Overturn on Rural Highway

**UPDATE, see below or click on this Air Force Space Command link. Apparently, the truck driver lost all control when some insect flew in the vehicle distracting him. I understand, because I would do the same thing if a wasp, bee or hornet flew into my vehicle. I would bail out no matter where I may be.

If I was watching the 1980s Hasbro Transformers cartoon, I would swear that Shrapnel, Kickback and Bombshell were involved in this incident, except they normally only went after energy sources and not military hardware.

Posted 9/2/2009 Updated 9/2/2009

by Maj. Shane Balken
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

9/2/2009 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- A payload transporter vehicle belonging to the 91st Missile Wing, which overturned on a gravel road about 10 miles northwest of Berthold on Monday, remains at the scene as Air Force personnel begin recovery efforts of the missile components inside and uprighting the tractor-trailer .

The vehicle was carrying unarmed, non-nuclear, rocket engine components of the Minuteman III missile. Although there is a small amount of liquid rocket on board, several tests consistently indicate no leak of the fuel and the equipment is still attached to their original clamps and tie downs. The missile components, which are transported on specially secured pallets, are being evaluated by a recovery team comprised of Air Force experts to ensure all components are stable for movement.

"We are grateful for the quick response of experts from Minot AFB, Mountrail County's law enforcement and emergency management personnel, and the National Guard to expedite recovery efforts in this remote area," said Col. Chris Ayres, 91st Missile Wing commander. "Our initial concern is always the safety of our people. Now our efforts have shifted working with the System Program Office experts from Hill AFB and the Air Force Space Command safety investigation board team to recover the vehicle and learn from this accident."

The area around the vehicle remains secured by local law enforcement and by 91st Missile Wing security forces personnel as a precautionary measure during recovery efforts.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Air Force and more information will be released as it becomes available.


Air Force Releases Accident Investigation Report

Posted 10/9/2009 Updated 10/9/2009

by Staff Report
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

10/9/2009 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Driver error caused a payload transporter vehicle carrying non-nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile components to overturn in a rural area near Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, on August 31, 2009, according to an Air Force Space Command accident investigation board. The board determined that the driver became distracted and failed to maintain control of the vehicle's route of travel when a large insect flew into the driver's open window and landed on the driver's back. The vehicle drifted to the right side of the gravel road while the driver was trying to remove the insect, and the vehicle's tires went off the right edge of the road. It tipped onto its right side and came to rest in the ditch next to a field. The board found no additional factors contributing to the cause of the mishap. There were no injuries and the accident posed no danger to the public. The estimated damage to the vehicle and its cargo, both assigned to the 91st Missile Wing, Minot AFB, N.D., including the cost of recovery, is still being assessed. For more information, contact the Air Force Space Command Public Affairs Office at 719-554-3731 or email

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