Fighter Crash Over Thumb Area Was Third in 14 Months
ELKTON, Mich. (AP) _ Two F-16A fighter planes collided during a training flight, killing one pilot while the other parachuted to safety, in the third military crash in eastern Michigan’s Thumb region in 14 months.
Debris covered a six-mile area, broadcast reports said, but no injuries were reported on the ground in Tuesday afternoon’s crash 2 miles south of Elkton and about 100 miles north of Detroit, said Huron County sheriff’s dispatcher Dave Blashill.
Debris was scattered around nearby residents’ yards and a 4-foot-long pipe crashed through the roof of a house.
The jets were from Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mount Clemens and were on a routine training flight, base spokeswoman Alice Errington said.
Air National Guard Lt. Col. Roy Keyt was killed. Capt. Robert Keough ejected and parachuted to the ground, and called police from a farmhouse, said Petty Officer Sharon Machon of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Authorities didn’t immediately know whether the planes were flying in tandem or in opposite directions, or the altitude at which they were flying.
Janet Kranz, from whose home the pilot notified authorities, said she heard a lound noise, looked out a window and saw a man in military fatigues walking toward the farmhouse. She told him, ″If I knew you were coming I would have cleaned house.″
Kranz said the pilot handed her a $5 bill and asked if he could make a long-distance phone call.
″I told him he could call anyone he wanted,″ she said. ″He called the base and called his wife. He told her, ’You’re going to hear it on the news, but I’m all right.‴
In November, a jet went out of control and crashed near Port Hope during a training mission. The pilot drowned when he and his parachute were blown into Lake Huron.
In January 1991, the commander of Michigan’s National Guard, Brig. Gen. Errol Gordon Stump, parachuted from his fighter before it crashed about four miles northeast of Sebewaing. He suffered minor bruises and scrapes.