An F-16 fighter jet and another small plane collided above South Carolina Tuesday morning.
At approximately 11 a.m., the military aircraft from Shaw Air Force Base in South Caroline hit the Cessna just 11 miles north of Charleston, said the Federal Aviation Administration.
"The pilot of the military airplane ejected safely and is en route to the hospital now," Michael Mule, a Berkeley County public information officer, told Reuters
The status of the Cessna pilot and any passengers is still unknown.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced via Twitter that an investigation of the incident is ongoing:
"[A] team of investigators will convene to determine the cause of the accident. No further information is available at this time,” announced the Air Force, according to ABC News
Bill Salisbury, Berkeley County Coroner, said a witness reported seeing the fighter jet broadside the Cessna. He also said that debris rained down over a wide range of land but fell mostly in marsh land.
"We have airboats and boats that are designed to run in the mud,” Salisbury told The Associated Press.
Linda Tyler, a Lewisfield Plantation resident who lives near the location of the crash, told Reuters that she heard a “kaboom” before authorities swarmed into her community.
An unnamed witness reported seeing a “ball of fire” in the sky, said NBC News.
The Air Force has used F-16 fighter jets since the 1970s, though they have become relatively uncommon in recent years. However, the Shaw Air Force Base regularly flies F-16s in the area for training missions.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association says that the Cessna cannot exceed an altitude of 15,000 feet, reported the AP. Cessna planes like the one in the collision weigh only about 1,500 pounds.
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