Investigators are converging on an area near Charleston, S.C., where an F-16 crashed Tuesday after colliding with a civilian Cessna airplane around 11:30 a.m. ET. The two occupants of the Cessna were killed.
The jet was based at Shaw Air Force Base, close to Sumter, S.C., and had been flying close to Joint Base Charleston at the time of the collision. In a statement, the base says, "The F-16 pilot safely ejected" and was taken to the Charleston base for a medical assessment.
Update at 4:45 p.m. ET: Two Occupants Of Cessna Died
Two people died in Tuesday's collision, the National Transportation Board's Peter Knudson says; both of them were aboard the smaller Cessna aircraft. Their remains have reportedly not yet been found.
The crash occurred above Lewisfield Plantation, local TV news WCSC reports, adding, "The Berkeley County Rescue Squad says the fuselage of the Cessna has been located and debris is scattered across a rice field."
An NTSB investigator is on the way to the site. Military and other investigators are also working on the scene.
Our original post continues:
The Shaw release states, "Our thoughts are with the friends and family of anyone aboard the civilian aircraft."
The FAA says:
"There has been a midair collision between a Cessna C 150 aircraft and a F 16 fighter aircraft 11 miles north of Charleston, South Carolina at about 11 am today."
The collision involves two of the most prolific aircraft of their respective classes: The Cessna 150 is a prop plane that's ubiquitous at general aviation airfields around the U.S., while the F-16 is an agile fighter plane that's been in use since the 1970s.
In addition to confirming that one of its F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft had crashed, Shaw also issued a phone number for people to call if they have damage claims related to the crash.
Images from the scene show that parts of the jet landed in a residential area. In one photo posted to Twitter, what looks to be a jet engine's turbine rests against the side of a trailer. In another, a piece of the plane sits amid smoldering tree branches.