Yesterday we broke news about an F-16 from Shaw Air Force Base and a Cessna 150 involved in a mid-air collision near Moncks Corner, South Carolina. This morning, we can confirm the two occupants of the Cessna were killed in the incident.
An experienced pilot with hundreds of hours in the Viper, the F-16’s single occupant ejected safely. According to Colonel Stephen Jost, commander of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw, the pilot was able to call out on his cell phone after his parachute returned him to the ground. He was taken to meet local EMS personnel on the scene, then transported to the clinic at Joint Base Charleston for evaluation.
The Viper was a single-ship flight, setting up an instrument approach to the joint base when the collision occurred. The pilot was in contact with Air Traffic Control in Charleston both before and at the time of the incident. According to the preliminary NTSB report, the F-16 was able to fly for a short period of time after the collision before the pilot ejected.
Authorities did confirm Michael Johnson, 68, and his 30-year-old son Joe Johnson, were killed in the collision. The elder Johnson’s body was recovered in the river, with a search still underway for his son. The Cessna was reportedly en route to Myrtle Beach and is registered locally in Berkeley County to Joe Johnson.
As is always the case with this sort of incident, opinions are already running wild about where the blame lies. We would urge you all to stay focused on available facts and steer clear of the speculation. It was a tragic accident and we trust the investigators from the Air Force, FAA, and NTSB will draw their conclusions based on the recorded data and physical evidence.
We will keep you updated as more pertinent information becomes available. In the mean time, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those aboard the Cessna, as well as with the pilot of the F-16 as he recuperates and is able to assist with the investigation.
(Featured photo courtesy of WCIV-TV/ABCNews4)