Pilot "coherent and talking" after F-16 crash - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Pilot "coherent and talking" after F-16 crash

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ADAMS COUNTY (WAOW) -- Military officials are working to return several dozen Adams County residents to their homes after a fighter jet crashed Tuesday afternoon.

Meantime, the Wisconsin National Guard reports the pilot is safe.

It happened about 1:20 p.m., according to the Wisconsin National Guard.  People living near New Chester in Adams County heard something they don't hear very often.

"I heard a softer boom, and then we heard a large boom," said Dee Ann Harvestine, Adams County resident.

Harvestine and her fiancé jumped in the car to find out what happened.

"We booked right down there right away," said Harvestine. "At that point, I seen all the black smoke, I thought it was close."

Military officials say a pilot from Madison's 115th fighter wing was flying his F-16 jet in a routine training exercise. At about 1:20 p.m., officials say, he ejected. The plane crashed into an unoccupied summer house in the town of New Chester.

"We did not see the pilot," said Harvestine. "That's what was our main concern. So actually, we were really concerned if the pilot was OK or not."

Officials say the pilot is safe, and that no one else was hurt.

"He was talking, he was coherent, but he was sent for further medical evaluation to make sure that there were no other concerns," said Lt. Col. Jackie Guthrie.

The Adams County Sheriff's Department evacuated about 50 people living near the crash site and brought them to the New Chester Town Hall.

"The most important thing right now is just getting people back in their homes and ensuring that the area is safe," said Guthrie.

Gwen Torkilson was one of those evacuated.

"I heard a loud boom and was curious about what it was, but didn't really attribute anything to it," said Torkilson.

Longtime residents say seeing fighter jets in the area is normal, but they say nothing like this has ever happened before.

"I've never heard of anything like this happening ever, in my whole life I've been here," said Harvestine.

An Air Force team has been requested to figure out what caused the accident.

Online Reporter: Daniel Woodruff

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