F-16s Touch, Both Pilots Safe

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A collision late Thursday night between two F-16C Air National Guard jets based out of Joint Base Andrews Naval Facility, 10 miles outside Washington, D.C., briefly left one pilot in the ocean after a successful ejection off of Virginia, while the other was able to fly his jet back to base. The pilot who ejected was rescued by the Coast Guard after they received an automated distress signal at some time after 10:30 pm. Both pilots were treated at the base's medical facilities and one has already been released. The other was reportedly transferred off base for treatment of his injuries, which appear to be non-life-threatening.

A National Guard spokeswoman said that she did not immediately have details on the extent of the damage suffered by the jet that safely returned to base, the Baltimore Sun reported. The Coast Guard tracked the ejection seat beacon, and found and recovered the downed pilot with an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter at about 12:30 a.m. Early reports differed in their accounts regarding the time when the distress signal was acquired but sources appear to agree the ejection occurred before midnight. The search was initiated when the jet's automated Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking beacon was received by the Coast Guard's 5th District Command Center. The cause of the apparent midair is under investigation.