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Two Military Airplanes Crash

April 22, 1987

ARTESIA, N.M. (AP) _ Two modified T-38 Air Force planes crashed today after apparently colliding during a training mission in southeastern New Mexico, state police said.

One pilot was rescued by a passing private helicopter, one person was believed killed and another person was missing, said Capt. John Denko, state police public affairs officer in Santa Fe.

The airplanes, specially modified T-38s called AT-38Bs, were assigned to the 479th Tactical Training Wing at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, said Bob Pepper, chief of media relations at the base.

Sam Winkles, assistant administrator at Artesia General Hospital, said one man was flown by helicopter to the hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. The extent of his injuries was not immediately known.

Winkles said the man told hospital officials he was a pilot stationed at Holloman.

A spokeswoman for Yates Petroleum, who declined to be identified, said John Yates and his helicopter pilot were en route from Yates’ home in Mayhill to Artesia when they spotted the burning wreckage.

She said they picked up an injured pilot and radioed the Artesia airport about the crash, then took the injured pilot to the hospital.

She said the pilot told them to search for two other pilots.

The planes went down at 9:44 a.m. approximately two miles northwest of Artesia, Denko said.

There was no ammunition aboard the airplanes, he said.

T-38s are primarily used by the Air Force for undergraduate pilot and instructor pilot training. The airplanes are powered by two turbojet engines with afterburners.

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