Victims Names Released From F-16, Small Plane Crash in S.C.

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UPDATE: Wednesday, July 8 – 12:00 p.m.

A News Conference was held at noon for the F-16, small plane crash that happened in Moncks Corner, S.C.

The Berkeley County Coroner released the names of the two victims that died in the small plane crash. Michael Johnson, 68, and Joseph Johnson, 30, were the passenger and pilot in the small plane that collided with the F-16.

The coroner said that only Michael Johnson’s body has been found, they are still actively searching for the other victim. It was confirmed that Micheal and Joseph were father and son and both resided in Moncks Corner.

Micheal Johnson’s body was found in the Cooper River in the immediate area of the crash sight.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently focusing on the accident sight of the Cessna and will transition to the F-16 sight soon.

UPDATE: Wednesday, July 8 – 7:54 a.m.

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (AP) — Federal investigators and local authorities are combing through a wide swath of rural, sparsely populated land as they try to determine what caused an F-16 fighter jet to slam into a small plane over South Carolina, killing the plane’s pilot and passenger.

The Cessna 150 was completely destroyed by Tuesday’s collision near Moncks Corner, South Carolina.

Berkeley County officials tweeted late Tuesday that Coroner Bill Salisbury will announce the names of the two victims Wednesday at noon during a press conference on the crash. An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board is joining the investigation and the agency will discuss its initial findings at the press conference.

A news release from Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter says the jet pilot ejected safely and parachuted to the ground.

Berkeley County Rescue Squad posted this video of the search on the water.

 

UPDATE: The Air Force says that 20 agencies are searching the area for any sign of the Cessna pilot and passenger.

The pilot of the F-16 has been identified as Major Aaron Johnson, a senior pilot from Sumter, SC. He was not hurt in the incident but was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Johnson is expected to return to Shaw Air Force Base tonight and meet with his family.

The Cessna was reportedly headed to Myrtle Beach after leaving from the Berkeley County airport. Crews have no reason to believe that anyone survived the crash and are now considering the search a recovery mission not a rescue mission.

They will work as long as they can tonight and resume in the morning if necessary. Crews have found wreckage of the military aircraft and have only found parts of the Cessna.

The cause of the crash has not been determined.

Previous Story: 

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Officials say an F-16 fighter jet collided with a Cessna over South Carolina, killing two people aboard the smaller plane. The Air Force pilot ejected safely, however.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson confirmed Tuesday afternoon that two people were in the Cessna. Both were killed, and he says the Cessna was destroyed.

Knudson says the pilot of the F-16 ejected and “is apparently uninjured.” He says there are not yet any details on what caused the collision or where the planes were traveling.

Lt. Jenny Hyden, a spokeswoman for Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, said earlier in the day that the pilot was taken to the base for observation.

Maj. Morshe Araujo, a spokeswoman at Air Force headquarters at the Pentagon, says the F-16 originated from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that collision happened at 11:02 a.m. Tuesday about 11 miles north of Charleston.

The investigation will be turned over to the United States Air Force. Officials have not identified the Cessna plane. Authorities say the military aircraft struck the side of the smaller aircraft.

It was not immediately known how many people were on board the smaller plane or if any of them survived.

A witness said he saw 2 planes collide in the air and saw a huge explosion, describing it as a “ball of fire in the air.”

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