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Navy jets were practicing formations when crash occurred

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Two Navy jets were practicing formations at the time of the crash
Posted at 11:44 AM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 14:52:21-04

KINGSVILLE, Texas — UPDATE (12:30 P.M. Tuesday) - The chief of Naval Air Training says that two T-45 Goshawk training aircraft from Training Squadron 22 were practicing formations when they bumped into each other.

One plane crashed inside King Ranch and the other made it back to the Naval Air Station in Kingsville.

The two pilots from the crashed jets were able to eject to safety and were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is underway.

UPDATE (2:10 p.m.) - The Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) has released information about the cause of the Navy plane crash that occurred Monday morning.

Edited parachute video

According to CNATRA, the crash involved two T-45 Goshawk training aircraft from Training Squadron 22.

At approximately 11 a.m. the two planes collided mid-air. One plane was able to land safely at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville while the instructor and student pilot in the other plane safely ejected about nine miles south of Kingsville in Ricardo.

One of the pilots was taken to CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Kleberg for minor non-life-threatening injuries.

The incident is currently under investigation.

CNATRA advises people to not attempt to move or touch any aircraft debris that may have landed in their vicinity and instead to report it to 361-516-6303.

Navy police investigating Kingsville plane collision

Update 1:15 p.m. - Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid says the two Navy jet pilots involved in an accident near Ricardo in Kleberg County and are headed to a hospital in Kingsville. The pilots are conscious and are said to have non-life-threatening injuries.

"He was in good spirits and had some bumps and bruises," said Madrid. "The pilots are in route to Christus Spohn Kleberg."

Madrid said the second pilot showed up at a house needing assistance after the accident. Madrid told him the crash happened deep in the middle of King Ranch and that it would be difficult for rescue crews to get to the site.

A witness told KRIS 6 News he was outside his house when he heard two loud explosions at about 10:28 pm.

"I was working in my garden and we have a lot of aircraft fly around our property," eyewitness William Rogers said. " We enjoy watching them. As it went above the cloud deck of the property beside me I heard an engine blow out.

"It traveled about another half-mile south and just got completely silent. The engines cut out and didn't hear anything else. I then saw the explosion when it hit the ground (saw) the mushroom cloud and about 20 minutes later some officers came by here looking for parachuters."

Rogers said he immediately started looking for survivors through his binoculars.

"I had them out immediately and they didn't come out anywhere within visible range of us," Rogers said. "I said to officers they were further south."

Rogers said the airplane was ascending when the accident occurred.

"It was ascending, which is normally what they do around our area," Rogers said. "They were try8ing to maybe get above the visibility because it was in the clouds as it soon as it got above the clouds is when I heard the explosion. And then I started watching after that."

Roger had an immediate reaction because of his familiarity with the airplanes through personal experience.

"I definitely knew it was an engine blowout after being stationed at Dyess (AFB in Abilene, Texas) My fiancée was in the Navy for so long and we enjoy watching planes quite a bit in the air show every year. I knew they were going to eject immediately if they went down. I wasn't expecting them to go down. I just heard the engine blow out and it went on out of sight. I couldn't hear it anymore so I thought it was just a flame out and they would keep flying so I never thought any more about it until I heard the explosion and saw the mushroom cloud.

Another witness said it was a jarring crash that immediately caught their attention.

"I freaked out because I've never felt the ground shake the way it did," one witness said. "And being that the distance that it was, you can still really feel the ground shake pretty good."

Emergency crews and Hazmat are at the scene securing the plane.

A Navy team and the Kleberg County Fire Rescue, the Kleberg County Sheriff's Department along with Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick are at the site of the crash.

ORIGINAL STORY: A Navy training jet has crashed near Ricardo, Madrid said.

The crash happened shortly before 11 a.m. Monday.

"This morning around 11 a.m. I was out here cutting my property on West 2180, and I felt the ground shake about two times," said Corderro Mejia, who witnessed the immediate aftermath of the crash while mowing his lawn. "I heard two loud explosions, so I turned around and looked south because I was facing north, and I looked up and seen two big ole fireballs go in the air kind of like a mushroom-style when the big ole smoke got into the air. One finished, and then another one came up after that. There was no smoke or anything after that. So I contacted the sheriff's department."

Both pilots have been found and are alive, Madrid said.

They were found on a ranch in the area if Highway 77 and West FM 772.

We'll have more on this breaking story as we learn about it.