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F-16 Crashes, Pilot Safe, in Area Planned for More Flights

June 26, 1995

STRUM, Wis. (AP) _ An F-16 fighter jet on a training run crashed near a farmhouse, heightening concerns over a proposal to expand low-level military flights in the area.

The Wisconsin Air National Guard jet, one of three headed for a training mission, crashed Sunday about 20 minutes after taking off from Madison for Volk Field in Juneau County, said Lt. Col. Jerry Olesen. The pilot ejected safely.

``It’s exactly what scares us to death,″ said Steve O’Donnell, spokesman for a coalition fighting the plan to expand the Volk Field bombing range and the military flight corridors leading to it.

The cause of the late morning crash was being investigated.

``I saw it coming towards the house. It went up into the woods and just blew up,″ said Diane Thronson, who estimated the crash was about 300 yards from her home near Strum, in west-central Wisconsin.

The pilot’s parachute got stuck in a 25-foot tree and he had to be cut loose and helped down a ladder, witnesses said.

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