North Dakota

Birds, equipment issues caused B-52 bomber crash in Guam

An Air Force investigation has concluded birds and mechanical issues — not pilot error — caused the crash of a B-52 bomber in Guam a year ago.

The bomber from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota aborted takeoff during a training mission May 19, 2016, and caught fire after leaving the runway. The seven-member crew was OK, but the $112 million plane was destroyed.

The Air Force says the pilot saw birds in the area at the same time cockpit instruments indicated a loss of thrust necessary to get the plane aloft.

The pilot aborted takeoff. When the plane landed, its drag chute failed and its brake limits were exceeded. The mechanical issues were attributed to high speed and don't indicate any larger issues among the B-52 fleet.