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Air Force Trainer, Civilian Plane Collide; Four Dead

May 23, 1987

TEHACHAPI, Calif. (AP) _ An Air Force training jet and a single-engine private plane collided Friday over the Tehachapi mountains north of Los Angeles, killing all four people aboard the two aircraft, the Air Force said.

Two Air Force officers were aboard the T-38 Talon from Edwards Air Force Base, and two people were in the civilian plane, said Air Force Sgt. Darren Dirk. The names of the dead were not released.

″The debris is spread out over a very large area,″ said Kern County Sheriff’s Lt. Jack Campbell.

The private plane, a Cessna P-206, was owned by Pacific Aerographics of Santa Ana and may have been on a topographical mission for geological studies, said Russell Park, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman in Los Angeles.

He said there was an unconfirmed report the Cessna had taken off from China Lake Naval Weapons Station in the eastern Mojave Desert.

Park said the T-38, from the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards, was flying in support of an F-15 on a test mission in a military operating area.

Civilian planes are allowed to fly through the area where the crash occurred under visual flight rules, Park added.

Kern County sheriff’s deputies secured the site after the 11:18 a.m. accident, and the Air Force set up a command post.

A motorist driving nearby reported to Kern County authorities that he saw a parachute. An Air Force rescue team in a helicopter searched for survivors, but found none, said Dirk.

Kern County firefighters contained two grass and brush fires triggered by the crash.

The crash occurred in the Cameron Canyon area about eight miles east of the city of Tehachapi and about 140 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

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