OAKTOWN, Indiana (AP) — Two F-16 fighter jets collided Monday over rural Indiana during training, killing one of the pilots, the Air National Guard said. The other pilot parachuted to safety.
One of the planes crashed in rural Illinois, while the other came down in a farm field in Indiana, authorities said. No injuries or damage on the ground were reported.
The fighter jets were from Terre Haute, about 40 miles north of Oaktown, and were in airspace reserved for military training near the Indiana-Illinois state line, National Guard Capt. Lisa Kopczynski said.
The cause of the accident was not disclosed. Thunderstorms were reported in the area at the time.
Resident Lisa Hall said she heard an explosion and saw a pilot’s body in a field nearby. She and other witnesses said another pilot dropped to the ground with a parachute.
“He’s OK. He’s bleeding from facial wounds,” said Don Kirkham, a former sheriff who was mowing his lawn when he heard a boom and drove to the scene. “All he was concerned about was his buddy. He said, `I’m not worried about anything but my buddy,’ so we cornered him and got him into an ambulance.”
Sandra Hatton, a spokeswoman for Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, said an officer with the Indiana Air National Guard was taken to the hospital, but that she could not disclose his condition.
A spokesman for Gov. Joe Kernan identified the pilot who was killed as Maj. William E. Burchett. The other pilot’s name was not immediately released.
An F-16 attached to the 113th Fighter Squadron, which is part of the 181st Fighter Wing, crashed July 26, 2001, near Parkersburg, Illinois, about 40 miles southwest of Oaktown. The pilot of that jet ejected safely.