Officials: Navy Jet Drops Bomb over Florida, Misses Target, Sparks Fire

May 16, 2008

Officials are investigating how a Navy fighter jet dropped a 500-pound laser-guided bomb a mile off target and sparked a wildfire in Florida’s Ocala National Forest.

About 150 acres burned after an F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter dropped a bomb that landed outside the target range, a news release from Naval Air Station Jacksonville said May 14.

Mike Drayton, a fire management officer with the U.S. Forest Service told the Ocala Star Banner the May 13 fire was contained. He said no structures were damaged and no one was hurt in the blaze.

The jet that dropped the bomb was from Strike Fighter Squadron 213, based out of Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va.

Telephone messages left after hours by The Associated Press with Naval Air Station Jacksonville and at Naval Air Station Oceana were not immediately returned. The telephone at a Florida Division of Forestry field office ran unanswered.

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