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June 8, 2011
A Wisconsin National Guard airplane crashed into an empty house in the Township of New Chester yesterday but its pilot managed to safely eject from the plane just prior to the crash.
The pilot, who is a member of the Madison-based 115th Fighter Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard, ejected from an F-16 fighter jet over Adams County around 1:20 p.m. during a routine training flight, according to a statement from the Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office. The pilot was found uninjured in New Chester.
The plane went on to crash into a New Chester vacation home. Fifty residents were evacuated from the neighborhood, which filled with smoke and flames. The home hit in the crash was destroyed and 10 nearby acres were burned.
“A few more feet and we would have been cinders,” a witness told The La Crosse Tribune. “When it exploded the flames went up into the sky several hundred feet.”
The Air Force Air Combat Command will investigate the cause of the accident, as will the National Guard.
A spokesman for the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. told reporters that the F-16 was one of 18 operated by the 115th in Madison.
The La Crosse Tribune reports that in the past 35 years, F-16s have crashed 737 times. In 312 cases the aircraft was destroyed, and 84 pilots were killed.
Do you think pilots should be allowed to conduct training flights over residential neighborhoods?
If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, contact the aviation accident lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force
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