By Marc Betts

The pilot of a military aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, on Monday, June 17, after a mid-flight emergency. 

The B-52, an American bomber, was spotted by several people on social media flying in circles around the base as it tried to burn off fuel before landing.

It is believed that two of the plane’s eight engines cut out.

It was spotted over Swaffham, Thetford and King’s Lynn leaving trails of smoke as it waited to land.

Flight enthusiast Tony Kelly was watching the incident unfold at Woodstock Farm Campsite near Wereham.

He said: “There were two [B-52s], one was in a holding pattern waiting for a tanker from RAF Mildenhall. It then developed an engine issue and landed.

“The second was also held for a while then headed back to the USA with a KC10 extender tanker up the east coast.”

The B52 has been used by the United States Air Force since 1955 and featured in the Cold War, Vietnam War and the Gulf War.

Chris Stone travelled from Norwich to see the plane when it had landed.

He said: “I’m lead to believe it had two engines overheating and one had a small fire – also steering problems.

“It was on the way back to the states from Europe but I don’t know what it was doing over there. It got to Norfolk about 5.40pm and I think that’s when the problems happened.

“It circled west off Norwich, King’s Lynn and Bury St Edmunds before landing around 7pm. I just took about a 40-mile trip from Norwich to see it has I have never seen one before.”

US officials said it was supporting a number of exercises in the region.