A B-52 Stratofortress bomber flying over the city of New Orleans Friday suffered a mishap when it shed an access panel that fell onto private property. The flyover, part of a salute to the region’s medical professionals, did not result in any injuries — or additional work for said professionals.
Two B-52 bombers and two F-15 fighter jets flown by personnel from the U.S. Air Force and Louisiana National Guard participated in the flyover, part of the Air Force Salutes program designed to honor first responders battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aircraft departed Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier Parish Friday morning at about 9:30 a.m., Capt. Chris Sullivan, public affairs chief for the 2nd Bomb Wing, told Military Times.
Approximately one hour later, the panel became dislodged and fell onto private property in an area of New Orleans, Sullivan said.
The panel “was quickly recovered by Air Force personnel, in partnership with local authorities,” Sullivan told Military Times. “A safety investigation will be conducted, as is the standard with these types of events.”
After ditching its winter pounds in preparation for summer, the B-52 continued its flyover in the skies over Baton Rouge before returning to base, Sullivan said, adding that the missing panel did not impact the “airworthiness of the aircraft.”
The shedding B-52 was reportedly built nearly 60 years ago, according to New Orleans 4WWL. The CBS affiliate was the first to report the mishap.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.