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Ricardo man describes aftermath of Navy jet collision

'I saw one big ole black cloud'
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Posted at 2:26 AM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 03:26:12-04

RICARDO, Texas — A resident along County Road 2180 said he had been given the day off. He had his Ricardo home to himself and he was mowing his lawn when he felt something wrong.

"I felt the ground vibrate, shake — it was a pretty good shake, like twice," Cordero Mejia said. "I got off my lawnmower and I looked around, I turned around to the south east side and I saw one big ole black cloud come up from the ground — kind of like a mushroom effect — and then like four seconds later another one came up behind that one."

Once he saw the plume of smoke, he called the Kleberg County Sheriff's Office at 10:57 a.m. Mejia said he initially thought it was just a bad accident along Highway 77.

"I was freaking out," he said. "I was kind of confused because I didn’t know what it was ... until law-enforcement arrived around 11:07 down my county road and they stopped in front of my house and I asked him what was going on and they notified me that there had been a plane that went down."

At around 1:30 p.m., the Chief of Naval Air Training released a statement on social media about the collision involving two T-45 Goshawk jet trainers.

"One aircraft was able to safely land at Naval Air Station Kingsville," the statement read. "The other aircraft’s instructor and student pilot safely ejected about nine miles south of Kingsville in Ricardo, Texas."

The statement added that one pilot was taken to CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Kleberg for minor injuries. Mejia said that's good news for the community.

"I’m glad that the pilots are OK and everybody involved are OK," he said. "(We're) just sending prayers for them and their family for a speedy recovery."