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Witness captures pictures of smoke plume from crashed Navy training jet

Witness captures pictures of smoke plume from crashed Navy training jet
Posted at 2:25 AM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 03:25:30-04

RICARDO, Texas — William Rogers knew something was wrong when he heard two Navy training jets collide mid-air near his home in the Kleberg County town of Ricardo Monday morning.

Moments later, the crippled plane crashed, and Rogers snapped a picture of the resulting smoke plume.

"Then all of a sudden, when I was up on the porch, is when we heard the explosion from the crash," Rogers said. "And I looked back and saw the mushroom cloud.”

Rogers says he and his fiance are retired from the aviation industry, and they know that accidents happen.

But they weren't sure exactly what happened until police officers arrived at their home wanting to search the property for signs of the pilots who ejected before the crash.

"We thought it was just a routine thing," he said. "And then all of a sudden when the people all start showing up we know it’s an emergency.”

Monday's emergency did not take any lives, and the pilots who ejected were not badly hurt.

Their plane also crashed in a rural area, and Rogers credits planning by the Navy for preventing a more dangerous situation.

“Typically (training jets) take off right here behind us and circle to the west out here over this open country of the King Ranch," he said. "That way if they have any problems, they’re not over a populated area."