RENO, Nev. (AP) _ Two airmen aboard an unarmed National Guard reconnaissance jet ejected and parachuted to safety just after the plane crash-landed, officials said today.
The F-4 jet, returning from a training flight, crashed Wednesday night at Reno-Cannon International Airport and showered debris for 800 yards, said Jim Landsberry, airport spokesman.
″They touched down and ejected and, luckily, they both walked away from it,″ National Guard spokesman Mike Reed said today.
The aircraft had an ″in-flight emergency″ and landing problems that forced the crew to eject, according to Reed, who said the jet veered left when it touched down.
The National Guard would not disclose the nature of the emergency, and an investigation could take several months, Reed said.
Reed identified the two crewmen as Lt. Col. Ronald J. Bath and Capt. William R. Burks.
Reed said Bath, a 43-year-old attorney, was the pilot and had more than 1,300 hours flight time in similar planes; Burks, a 33-year-old accountant, was navigator.
Burks was treated and released from Washoe Medical Center, but Bath remained in the hospital for observation because of a back injury. He was expected to be released shortly, Reed said.