Last July, a 66 foot long U.S. Air
Force truck, carrying a 32 ton, 45 foot long first stage of a Minuteman III
ICBM, had an accident. The damage, and the cost of recovering the truck and
missile, cost $5.6 million. The truck drove too close to the side of a gravel
road and flipped over on its side. This occurred 120 kilometers from Minot Air
Force Base in North Dakota. The two airmen operating the vehicle, which was
accompanied by a security vehicle, were not injured. Classified components of
the missile were promptly removed, and the wreck remained there for eleven days
while the incident was investigated. There was no nuclear weapon involved.
force did not give a breakdown of the costs, but it probably included the cost
of the many air force personnel (security, investigators, administrative), the
contractors that recovered the truck and missile, lawyers and other
administrative costs. The air force admitted that there have been similar
accidents every 5-10 years.