A F-16 fighter jet and a smaller civilian plane collided in a fireball above a historic plantation in South Carolina.
Witnesses reported an “explosion in the sky” above Highway 52 near Cooper River, in Berkeley County.
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The Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed the midair collision and said in a statement that the fighter jet collided with a Cessna around 11 a.m. about 11 miles north of Charleston.
Rescue crews have located the Air Force pilot, who is on the way to a hospital. There is still no word about the civilians aboard the Cessna.
The pilot of the military aircraft ejected safely and was taken for a health evaluation, according to a statement from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, where the F-16 was based.
“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of anyone aboard the civilian aircraft,” Shaw Air Force Base said in a statement posted on Twitter.
No information was immediately available on the condition of the pilot of the Cessna, or whether any additional passengers were on board.
“From what I understand from a witness, the military plane struck the other, small aircraft broadside,” Bill Salisbury, the Berkeley County coroner as well the chief of the volunteer rescue squad, said at a press conference.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating the crash, which occurred in Moncks Corner, South Carolina.
Debris from the small plane had been found scattered over a wide area, including in a rice field, local authorities said. There were no reports of injuries from any debris.
Linda Tyler, a resident of Lewisfield Plantation in Moncks Corner, said she heard a loud “kaboom” in the morning. Later police vehicles blocked the entrance gate to her community, she said.
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