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A leak in an RC-135V Rivet Joint's high-pressure oxygen system led to a fire during the aircraft's initial takeoff on Apr. 30, 2015, according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released today.
The fire burned a hole through the upper fuselage of the aircraft, which is assigned to the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron, 55th Wing, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. Four crewmembers received treatment for minor smoke inhalation.
According to the investigation report, failure by contract depot maintenance personnel to properly tighten a retaining nut connecting a metal oxygen tube to a junction fitting caused an oxygen leak. This leak created a highly-flammable, oxygen-rich environment that subsequently ignited.