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Pilots survive mid-air collision of training aircraft in Texas

Two T-45 Goshawk training aircraft of the U.S. Navy, similar to the one pictured, were involved in a mid-air crash on Monday over Kleberg County, Texas. Photo by MCS3 Anthony Johnson/U.S. Navy
Two T-45 Goshawk training aircraft of the U.S. Navy, similar to the one pictured, were involved in a mid-air crash on Monday over Kleberg County, Texas. Photo by MCS3 Anthony Johnson/U.S. Navy

May 17 (UPI) -- A U.S. Navy flying instructor and a trainee pilot survived a mid-air collision on Monday after departing Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas.

Naval Air Training Command reported that two T-45 Goshawk planes of the Navy and Marine Corps training squadron VT-22 at Naval Air Station Kingsville "collided in mid-air in [over] Ricardo, Texas, at approximately 11:00 CST."

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"One aircraft was able to safely land at NAS Kingsville, Texas, and the other aircraft's instructor and student pilot safely ejected," the command said on Twitter.

The two who ejected were taken to nearby Christus Spohn Kleberg hospital, a civilian hospital, conscious and with non-life-threatening injuries.

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Their crashed aircraft was found on an area ranch, and was secured by emergency crews and hazmat teams of the Navy and by fire rescue personnel and sheriffs of Kleberg County, Texas.

The identification of those involved in the accident was not immediately provided.

Witnesses reported explosions and two large fireballs in the air, KRIS-TV, Corpus Christi, said.

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"As it [the crashed plane] went above the cloud deck of the property beside me I heard an engine blow out," said eyewitness William Rogers. "It traveled about another half-mile south and just got completely silent. The engines cut out and [I] didn't hear anything else."

I then saw the explosion when it hit the ground [and then] the mushroom cloud, and about 20 minutes later some officers came by here looking for parachuters," Rogers said.

The T-45 Goshawk is a tandem-seat jet trainer, used since 1991 to train Navy and Marine Corps pilots in the intermediate and advanced stages of their instruction, with an emphasis on tactical strike missions and arrival and departure on aircraft carriers.

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Built by Boeing and BAE Systems, the plane is 39 feet long with a wingspan of nearly 31 feet. The aircraft is powered by a Rolls-Royce turbofan engine, it can approach speeds of 625 miles per hour.

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