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ENGINE QUITS, 2 FALL OFF - BUT B-52 DOES FINE

One engine failed and two fell off a B-52 bomber during a training mission, forcing the crew to circle for more than six hours before landing safely early Wednesday on five of its eight engines.

A pod holding two engines dropped off and landed in a soybean field near Bossier City at about 6 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after takeoff, Barksdale Air Force Base Tech Sgt. Howard Smith said.The generator in a third engine had failed shortly before that. The plane could land safely with as few as two, he said.

"Everything went off without a hitch," said Lt. Jeff Glenn, spokesman for the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale, where the bomber was stationed.

The crew circled to use up fuel because the 35-year-old plane does not have a system to jettison its fuel and cannot land safely if plane and fuel weigh a total of more than 260,000 pounds, Smith said.

The plane itself weighs 185,000 pounds.