F-16s Collide Over Kansas; One Crashes, One Returns To Tulsa
Monday, October 20th 2014, 4:09 pm
By: News On 6
Two F-16s based in Tulsa collided in mid-air over southeast Kansas Monday afternoon, with one of the pilots ejecting safely and the other landing his fighter jet back in Tulsa.
Osage SkyNews 6 HD pilot Will Kavanagh said the aircraft were part of a four-jet training mission when the incident happened. The jet that crashed went down near Moline, Kansas about 100 miles north of Tulsa.
The 138th Fighter Wing of the Oklahoma Air National Guard flies F-16s and is based at Tulsa International Airport. Major Geoff Legler with the Oklahoma National Guard said the pilot who ejected received minor injuries and was taken to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita to be checked out. He was treated and released.
Video from Osage SkyNews 6 HD showed that the jet that crashed landed on its belly and then burned. Its vertical fin could be seen just a few feet away. The jet was also missing its right horizontal stabilizer, but it's not known if it was broken off when the plane hit the ground or if it was damaged in the mid-air collision.
Two of the F-16s in the training flight landed at Tulsa International Airport after the incident taxied to the hangar, but the third had to be towed. A man who lives in Piedmont, Kansas tweeted that he saw the crash.
"Anyone else just see that jet go down?" Dakota Chamberlain tweeted at about 3 p.m.
"How neat I just watched that jet hit the dirt from a paddle boat," Chamberlain tweeted about an hour later. He also tweeted a photo of the crash scene.
The crash happened within the boundaries of the Eureka Military Operations Area. The Eureka MOA is a large chunk of air space over much of southeastern that's reserved for military aircraft to practice maneuvers.
F-16s from Tulsa also frequently use the Smoky Hill Bombing Range in northern Kansas to practice ground-attack missions.
9/11/2008: Related Story: Behind The Scenes With A Fighter Jet Pilot
The 138th Fighter Wing has not said what kind of training mission the four jets were flying when the collision happened.
The U.S. Air Force will appoint a group of officers to investigate what happened. It will issue a report on the crash, probably in several months or even a year.