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Air Force Investigating Missile Fin

August 21, 2001

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VALPARAISO, Fla. (AP) _ The Air Force was trying Monday to determine why the fin from a missile plummeted into a residential neighborhood, apparently almost hitting two children.

The 10-pound fin fell Friday from an unarmed missile being carried by an F-16 jet fighter during a landing approach to nearby Eglin Air Force Base, base spokesman Tech. Sgt. David Donato said.

No one was hurt and there was no property damage.

But Keith Cash told WEAR-TV on Saturday that the fin landed within 10 feet of his daughter and another child while they were taking a walk. He returned the fin to the air base.

``Our safety office ... has suspended the testing of this particular missile until the investigation is complete″ in about a week, Donato said.

The fin was from a high-speed anti-radiation missile, or HARM, that homes in on enemy radar. It is used to knock out radar-guided, anti-aircraft missile and gun installations.

The jet was returning from a weapons testing mission that did not call for the missile to be launched, Donato said.

Update hourly