Two South Carolina Air National Guard F-16 fighter pilots ejected safely after an apparent midair collision in eastern Georgia, the Guard said.
The collision happened about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday during night training operations over a remote military operating area in Jefferson County, Georgia, a National Guard spokeswoman said.
The jets were assigned to the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing, which operates out of McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover, South Carolina.
The base commander, Col. Nicholas Gentile, said the two pilots are among the most experienced in the unit.
Gentile said he could not yet release their names, but said they are back in South Carolina being debriefed as part of the investigation.
He said the two jets were part of a group of six that was conducting night training operations in preparation for an upcoming deployment that he could not discuss.
The pilots were wearing night-vision goggles when the collision occurred, Gentile said.
“We had planes spread out across the Southeast last night,” Gentile said, adding that the bombing range is only about a 15-minute flight from the South Carolina base.
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