For over two weeks, the United States Air Force has been scrambling to locate a crate of explosives that fell off one of their vehicles. Officials claim that the package was dropped in Mountrail County, North Dakota, on May 1 when a team from Minot Air Force Base was making an ammunition delivery between two ICBM sites.
It was not until 3 days later, on May 4, that the package was actually reported missing. Another twist of irony is the fact that this route was actually in the middle of the Fort Berthold Reservation, home of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, Native American Tribes.
Mark Fox, reservation chairman is concerned that this could be a potential hazard for people in his tribe.
“Being a veteran myself, I fully understand that accidents happen at any level. But my hopes and prayers are that it is found soon somehow, to avoid any possible injury or tragedy,” Fox said.
The 91st Missile Wing Security Forces, a division tasked with protecting US nuclear missile sites from attacks, was allegedly responsible for the shipment. In the box was a cache of MK 19 automatic grenade launcher rounds weighing 42 pounds.
On May 11, the Air Force finally sent a search team of over 100 soldiers to comb the 6-mile route where the grenades were apparently lost, but they were unable to find anything. Now the Airforce is asking for help from the public and offering a $5,000 reward.
Sheriff Kenneth G. Halvorson told the Washington Post that these grenades can only be fired with specific government-issued weapons.
“This ammunition is specific to that launcher and will not operate in any other launching device without catastrophic failure,” he said.
However, Air Force Lt. Col. Jamie Humphries, a spokesman at Minot Air Force Base said that there is still a potential for danger because tampering with the container could result in an explosion.