In a horrific mid air crash, an F-16 fighter jet collided with a private plane just outside Charleston, South Carolina, earlier this week. The two people in the Cessna, which crashed into a rice field, are presumed to have perished in the crash, though no bodies have yet been found.
Air Force Major Aaron Johnson, from the Shaw Air Force Base, avoided the fate of those in the Cessna by ejecting from the F-16 shortly after the crash, and parachuting into a field a few miles away. Though he did not appear to have significant injuries, Major Johnson was taken to a nearby base hospital for observation.
The two people flying in the small plane, whose identities are due to be released shortly, were on the way to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and were still speaking with the Berkeley County Airport when the crash occurred.
According to the Charleston Post Courier, Major Johnson, in the F-16 fighter jet, was in the midst of flying a solo training mission at Charleston Air Force Base at the time of the crash. He was also still in contact with Charleston air traffic control.
Col. Stephen Jost, commander of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, explains the type of training the F-16 pilot was attempting to complete.
“It’s a routine type of training mission that we do at Joint Base Charleston. Our pilots are well-trained to fly the approaches into and out of there.
All the facts at this point indicate that the pilot was talking to air traffic control … when the accident occurred. There are 100 factors that could have been at play here.”
— Shaw Air Force Base (@20FighterWing) July 7, 2015
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 7, 2015
Capt. Robert McCullough, of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said it appears the Cessna started to climb just prior to the crash with the F-16.
“Witnesses have indicated the Cessna was flying along, pulled up, and the jet went through it.”
Nearby resident Wayne Ware heard the F-16 crash while he was enjoying a walk.
“I didn’t see it; I heard it. I turned around, and I saw the jet. Pieces started falling out of the sky. His engine is lying right there at the campground.”
Chief Bill Salisbury, of the Berkeley County Rescue Squad, says they are working hard to find out what happened to cause the crash, and to locate the bodies of the Cessna occupants, reports WTKR.
“We are in investigative mode trying to find out who that plane belonged to and who was on board. We have debris of the small plane scattered over a large area, and part of it is in a rice field. The main object now is to locate the people and bring them back home to the families.”
What do you think happened to cause the tragic F-16 crash?
[Image via Planet Minecraft]