A U.S. military jet and a small plane collided mid-air, raining debris over parts of South Carolina.
An F-16 fighter jet and a small plane collided today over South Carolina, confirmed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). While the military pilot managed to eject the damaged plane, his civilian counterpart wasn’t as lucky. The agency added the crash occurred at around 11 a.m. north of Charleston.
The Berkeley County Fire Department, whose officials reported to the site and cordoned off the area, added that the crash happened near Old Highway 52 at Lewisfield Plantation in Moncks Corner. One of the firefighters said the F-16 pilot ejected only moments before the plane crashed. It is apparent the pilot managed to steer the fighter plane away from any populated locality, thereby saving the lives of many and avoiding any major catastrophe.
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The lone military pilot was spotted by a pickup truck, who alerted the authorities. He was swiftly flown to a nearby hospital, confirmed Lt. Jenny Hyden, a spokeswoman for Shaw Air Force Base in Columbia, who added that the base has confirmed the “Fighting Falcon” is one of their planes. However, she did not offer any more information about the condition of the pilot.
While toxic fumes continue to erupt from the F-16, the fire and rescue department has managed to locate just a single fuselage of the small plane that collided with the F-16. Authorities have confirmed the small plane was a Cessna 150, reported WYFF4. The fire department is already combing the fields nearby and has already deployed rescue swimmers to search for any additional survivors. Unfortunately, there is no confirmation about how many passengers the small plane was ferrying.
The National Transportation Safety Board has already initiated a probe and will be dispatching an investigator shortly, reported Military.com.
The mid-air collision between a small plane and an F-16 is a very rare occurrence, and only a detailed investigation will reveal what caused the accident. A Cessna 150 can only fly to an altitude of 15,000 feet, whereas a F-16 can go far higher and faster. Moreover, the small plane is more like a bird, weighing just about 1,500 pounds against an F-16 that weighs around 10 tons without fuel and weapons.
Bill Salisbury, the Berkeley County coroner, as well the chief of the volunteer rescue squad, quoted a witness who said that the military plane broadsided the smaller Cessna. Most of the debris has landed in a marshy area, which would undoubtedly complicate recovery and investigation.
[Image Credit: Michael Williams / Getty Images]