The Latest: 2 airmen died while landing at Oklahoma base

KEN MILLER

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Latest on the crash of two Air Force training jets in northwest Oklahoma that killed two airmen. (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

An Air Force base commander says two U.S. airmen were killed in an accident involving two jets during the landing phase of a training exercise in northwestern Oklahoma.

Addressing a news conference Thursday afternoon, Vance Air Force Base Col. Corey Simmons declined to identify the two aboard the T-38 Talon who died around 9 a.m.. He says two other airmen aboard an identical jet involved in the crash are uninjured.

Simmons refused to speculate on what may have caused one of the jets to flip upside down on grass near the runway because an investigation is underway. Simmons says Air Force investigators typically have a report within 60 days.

The base is in Enid, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Oklahoma City.

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12:57 p.m.

Two airmen were killed Thursday in an accident involving two jets at an Air Force base in northwestern Oklahoma, military officials said.

Vance Air Force Base said in a news release that two T-38 Talons each with two people aboard were taking part in a training mission when the crash occurred shortly after 9 a.m.

The military hasn’t released the conditions of the others involved or the names of the deceased.

“All we can disclose is that there are two fatalities as a result of the crash,” said Airman Zoe Perkins with the base’s public affairs office.

An Air Force team will investigate to determine the cause of the crash, Perkins said.

TV footage from the scene shows one aircraft upside down on grass near a runway and the second aircraft upright on the runway.

The base in Enid, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Oklahoma City, says on its website that the T-38 Talon is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet used in a variety of jet pilot training roles. It is one of three types of aircraft, along with the T-1 Jayhawk and the T-6 Texan, used for pilot training at the base.

The crash is the second incident involving a T-38 training jet in Oklahoma in the past 15 months.

Air Force officials said an Air Force pilot ejected successfully before a jet trainer crashed in western Oklahoma in August 2018 and was found safe, while the jet crashed and exploded about 70 miles (113 kilometers) west of the base. Investigators said the pilot ejected after the jet developed engine trouble.