Air Force seeks help to locate container with grenade rounds; $5,000 reward offered
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE – Thirty-two 40mm high-explosive dual purpose grenade rounds meant for use with the MK 19 machine gun grenade launcher are inside a metal container from Minot Air Force Base that went missing after falling out of a military vehicle near Parshall on May 1. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the ammunition.
On Friday, the Air Force and local authorities asked for help of the public in locating the ammunition container with the grenade rounds.
Air Force officials said a Security Forces team from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB were traveling between missile sites on rough roads in Mountrail County on May 1 when the back hatch of their Humvee opened and the ammunition container with the grenade rounds fell out.
The explosives were lost on 76th Avenue NW, somewhere between 33rd Street NW and N.D. Highway 23, four miles west of Parshall and south of Highway 23 for six miles, according to a news release from the Mountrail County Sheriff’s Department.
The ammunition is specific to the MK 19 machine gun grenade launcher and will not operate in any other launching device without catastrophic failure, the Sheriff’s Department news release said.
Air Force officials said the ammunition is considered safe as long as the container is intact. However, damage to the container or its contents could result in an explosion and/or injury. The metal container is 18.6 inches long, 14.6 inches high and 8.5 inches wide.
Search efforts by Air Force members have not recovered the missing container with the ammunition. On Friday over 100 airmen walked the entire six-mile route several times but were unable to locate the container and ammunition, the Sheriff’s Department reported.
If the ammunition is located and damaged, the area should be evacuated and an immediate call placed to 911 or the Minot Munitions Reporting Hotline number at 723-7909.
The cause of the incident is currently under investigation by Air Force officials and local authorities. Anyone who has seen the ammunition or has information regarding its whereabouts is asked to contact the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at 723-7909 or the Mountrail County Sheriff’s Department at 628-2975.