F-16 crashes near New Jersey highway; pilot ejects

Thursday, January 10th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. - An F-16 with the New Jersey Air National Guard crashed Thursday morning during a training mission, officials said.

The pilot, based at the 177th Fighter Wing at Pomona, ejected from the aircraft, has been found, and was taken to a local hospital officials said.

``Somebody did have confirmation that they did see the parachute,'' said Zoe Natasha, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey National Guard.

The unit has been flying cover missions over major U.S. cities since the Sept. 11 attacks. But Col. John Dwyer of the Air National Guard said the plane "was not involved in a combat mission. This was involved in a training mission."

The plane crashed at about 10:45 a.m. near the Garden State Parkway and debris was scattered across the highway, a major north-south route, said John Hagerty, a state police spokesman. Hagerty did not know if anyone on the ground was injured.