Two die as military jets collide
October 22, 1997
Web posted at: 7:27 p.m. EDT (2327 GMT)
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, California (CNN) -- Two aviators were killed when an Air Force training jet collided with an F-16 fighter Wednesday over Edwards Air Force Base Air Force Base, officials said.
The crew of a T-38 training jet -- an American and a member of the Royal Air Force -- were found dead several miles from the wreckage of their aircraft, said Air Force Lt. Col. Bob Williams.
He said it appeared both tried to eject, but their parachutes, chairs and rigging landed several miles from where the two were found.
He said it was not clear if they were killed in the collision or when they hit the ground.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon landed safely in the dry bed of Rogers Lake, the Air Force said. It had damage to one wing, but none of its crew suffered serious injuries.
The accident occurred shortly after 10 a.m.
The jets had been on a training mission with a B-1 bomber, photographing it as it dropped training bombs.
The bomber was nearby when the two jets collided, Williams said, and the bomber crew saw the training jet fall. The two planes had been flying in the same direction when they collided, he said.
The Royal Air Force aviator who died was at Edwards on a training mission.
Wednesday's collision was the latest in a string of U.S. military air accidents. In September the military suspended training flights for 24 hours to focus on safety issues. The stand down was ordered by Secretary of Defense William Cohen.
Edwards is home to the Air Force Test Pilot School, which tests military planes, including experimental aircraft. It is also a landing site for U.S. space shuttles.