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Fighter Jet Collides With Private Plane Over South Carolina

A F-16 fighter jet and a smaller civilian plane collided in a fireball above a historic plantation in South Carolina.

Witnesses reported an “explosion in the sky” above Highway 52 near Cooper River, in Berkeley County.

The Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed the midair collision and said in a statement that the fighter jet collided with a Cessna around 11 a.m. about 11 miles north of Charleston.

Rescue crews have located the Air Force pilot, who is on the way to a hospital. There is still no word about the civilians aboard the Cessna.

Reuters report:

The pilot of the military aircraft ejected safely and was taken for a health evaluation, according to a statement from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, where the F-16 was based.

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of anyone aboard the civilian aircraft,” Shaw Air Force Base said in a statement posted on Twitter.

No information was immediately available on the condition of the pilot of the Cessna, or whether any additional passengers were on board.

“From what I understand from a witness, the military plane struck the other, small aircraft broadside,” Bill Salisbury, the Berkeley County coroner as well the chief of the volunteer rescue squad, said at a press conference.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating the crash, which occurred in Moncks Corner, South Carolina.

Debris from the small plane had been found scattered over a wide area, including in a rice field, local authorities said. There were no reports of injuries from any debris.

Linda Tyler, a resident of Lewisfield Plantation in Moncks Corner, said she heard a loud “kaboom” in the morning. Later police vehicles blocked the entrance gate to her community, she said.