November 16, 2000 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A US F-16 collided with a small plane Thursday and crashed in flames. The pilot of the Cessna 172 was killed, while the fighter pilot parachuted to safety onto a golf course and walked to someone's house to use the phone.
Pieces of the small plane, a Cessna, landed on the golf course. The wreckage of the fighter jet started a fire in the woods a few miles away. No injuries were reported on the ground.
The fighter pilot ejected safely. The jet was an F16C/GE100 from Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga., but was on a training mission that originated from Florida's MacDill Air Force Base, about 20 miles from the crash site.
Two F-16s were on the training mission but only one was involved in the crash. The F-16s were carrying a load of dummy bombs meant to be dropped on a range in Avon Park, east of the crash site. One of the dummy bombs fell and stuck into a four-lane highway's median. No one was hurt and there was no danger of an explosion.
Several witnesses reported seeing two Cessnas circling each other and "playing tag" shortly before the crash. Witnesses said one of the planes pulled away and the other headed north into the path of the F-16. Authorities did not have any information on the second Cessna.