AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — An F-16 based at Aviano dropped two external fuel tanks and an inert missile on an empty field Tuesday night after the pilot declared an in-flight emergency shortly after takeoff, according to a 31st Fighter Wing press release.
The jet returned safely to base. The debris fell on fields near Dandolo about six miles east of the base. No one was hurt and property was not damaged, according to the release.
No additional F-16s were grounded as a result of the incident, the wing's public affairs office said. It was an engine-related in-flight emergency affecting a single aircraft.
Italian news agency Adnkronos reported that Italian police and firefighters and U.S. military personnel went to the scene Wednesday morning and recovered the fuel tank and missile debris. Officials were inspecting the site for possible contamination, according to the report, but initial indications were that rain and impact had diluted most of the spilled fuel.