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Pilot Ejects From F-16 Over N.J.

January 10, 2002

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LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) _ An F-16 with the New Jersey Air National Guard crashed near a busy highway during a training mission Thursday morning, and the pilot ejected safely, officials said.

The pilot, based at the 177th Fighter Wing at Pomona, was found at Warren Grove, a 2,400-acre bombing range, officials said. His name was not immediately released.

``He appears to be OK and is being transported to a local hospital for evaluation,″ guard spokeswoman Natasha Zoe said.

The plane was not involved in a combat mission, Col. John Dwyer said.

It crashed near the Garden State Parkway, and debris was scattered across the highway, a major north-south route, said John Hagerty, a state police spokesman. No cars on the parkway were damaged.

Jared Jackson said he was outside his house smoking a cigarette and watching planes fly over the bombing range when he heard ``a big crack.″

``It didn’t sound like the normal bombs being dropped,″ said Jackson, 23. ``I saw a cloud of smoke come up from tree level.″

Air National Guard pilots stationed at Pomona fly four- to seven-hour sorties in which F-16s cruise above metropolitan New York at speeds of up to 1,500 mph.

F-16s, designed to attack both air and ground targets, were used extensively during the Gulf War and to patrol no-fly zones in Iraq.


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