Monck’s Corner, SC – At approximately 11:00 AM on 7 July, 2015, an F-16CM of the 55th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Wing from Shaw AFB, South Carolina collided in midair with a civilian Cessna 150. The pilot Major Aaron Johnson ejected safely from the F-16CM. Berkeley County Rescue Squad Chief Bill Salisbury reported that there were at least two fatalities aboard the Cessna as rescue crews continue to search for survivors.
Witness reports are varied. Kathryn Dennis, a cast member of the Bravo TV reality show, “Southern Charm,” tweeted that the small plane crashed on the field in front of her home.
Update: the small plane crashed in the rice field directly in front of my house and the people in it are friends of my family. Please pray
— Kathryn C. Dennis (@kathryn_dennis) July 7, 2015
Other witnesses saw the F-16 hit the Cessna “broadside” and still others said they saw the Cessna climb into the F-16. The National Safety and Transportation Board is investigating the mishap.
Officials at Shaw AFB have announced they will also conduct an investigation on the mishap.
The Shaw AFB website reported that the collision had occurred and that Major Johnson was taken to “Joint Base Charleston’s medical clinic for examination and treatment if necessary.”
On a personal note, my oldest son and his wife live in Monck’s Corner and they were napping at the time of the crash and didn’t hear or see anything.
The last mishap near Monck’s Corner was a fatal crash of a Cessna 150 on 13 OCTOBER, 2011. NTSB Identification: ERA12FA051.
The last crash involving an F-16 from Shaw AFB was on Oct. 16, 2009 involving a midair collision of two F-16’s.
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NTSB Identification: ERA15FA259B
Michael Johnson, 68, and his son, Joseph Johnson, 30, died Tuesday in the midair collision over Berkeley County, according to Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury.
At 1100:26, the controller advised the F-16 pilot, “turn left heading 180 if you don’t have that traffic in sight.” The pilot responded by asking, “confirm 2 miles?” Eight seconds later, the controller stated, “if you don’t have that traffic in sight, turn left heading 180 immediately.” Over the next 18 seconds, the track of the F-16 began turning southerly.
At 1100:49, the radar target of the F-16 was located 1/2 nautical mile northeast of the Cessna, at an indicated altitude of 1,500 feet, and was on an approximate track of 215 degrees. At that time, the Cessna reported an indicated altitude of 1,400 feet, and was established on an approximate track of 110 degrees.
At 1100:52 the controller advised the F-16 pilot, “traffic passing below you 1,400 feet.” At 1100:54, the radar reported altitude of the F-16 remained at 1,500 feet and no valid altitude information was returned for the radar target associated with the Cessna.
At 1101:19, the F-16 pilot transmitted a distress call, and no subsequent transmissions were received. Air traffic control radar continued to track the F-16 as it proceeded on a roughly southerly track, and after descending to an indicated altitude of 300 feet, radar contact was lost at 1103:17 in the vicinity of the F-16 crash site.