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Plane Crash Kills Two Guardsmen

June 5, 1985

WALDRON, Ark. (AP) _ An F-4 fighter plane assigned to the Arkansas Air National Guard crashed in a remote wooded area Wednesday during a low-altitude training mission, killing both crewmen, Scott County authorities said.

The plane crashed in the Ouachita National Forest about 10 miles south of Harvey and touched off a fire. A Polk County deputy who flew over the site said the fire burned at least 30 acres.

″If you fly over, it looks like where a dozer dropped its blade and pushed a ways,″ said Polk County Chief Deputy Jimmie Jacobs. The V-shaped trench appeared to be a couple of feet deep, he said, and small pieces of the plane were scattered about 30 yards from the end of the trench.

″There wasn’t any large pieces,″ Jacobs said. ″No wings or fuselage. It looked like it exploded when it hit the ground. It just disappeared. There was nothing there to identify it as a plane that we could see from the air unless you knew what it was.″

He said there are a series of ridges in the area, but that skies were clear. ″Something just malfunctioned,″ he said.

Maj. Bill Vines of the 188th Tactical Fighters Group in Fort Smith said the plane was one of three on the low-altitude mission.

″The crash was witnessed by other members of the flight,″ he said in a telephone interview. ″There were two men aboard the aircraft and no passengers.″

The name of the crew members were being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

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