Pilot Ejects From F-16 Over N.J.
%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)
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.
On the Net: