My interest was piqued by the groom lake mention, but as we all know open sources often get the details of a mishap very, very wrong so I FOIAed the report.
Got the report last week. Sure enough, the AC crashed 3.5 miles north of the lake after the engine blew and the pilot was trying to glide to the lake bed. The mission was a practice bombing mission using MK76s.
I had always thought that the groom lake base had been in continuous operation since the U2 testing, but turns out that the base closed down after the U2 program, then went back to just being part of the nellis range for a few years. From pete merlin:
The airfield at Groom Lake opened in the summer of 1955 and closed in the summer of 1957. The [Mention of a] "prepared runway" in the report suggest to me that the F-100 pilot was probably attempting to land on one of the airstrips marked on the surface of the dry lakebed … for the U-2. … There are several old bombing targets in the valley north of Groom Lake on the way toward Rachel.
The cause of the mishap was FOD. A tool had been left inside the AC during maintainence and managed to work its way into the engine during the pull up after bomb release.
Also; I find of interest: The mission started out as a 4 ship, but number 4 had to abort and return to nellis because of an afterburner problem before they even got to the target area. Then when preparing for the dive bomb run number 3 also had an afterburner problem and had to abort. Then while pulling off target, number two had his engine destroyed by FOD. So out of 4 F100s, only one completed the mission without incident!