Recovery Efforts Continue After Military Aircraft Crash In Woodward Co.
WOODWARD COUNTY, Oklahoma - Recovery efforts continue in Woodward County after a military aircraft came crashing into an open field, from 2,000 feet up just seconds before the pilot safely ejected.
United States Air Force crews are scouring nearly 500 wooded acres for debris. They won’t leave until it's all collected and the land is restored.
According to OHP two T-38 aircrafts were returning from a training mission around 1:45 p.m. when one of the engines failed.
“He lost his engine, we don't know why he lost his engine. He tried to restart it and climb to no avail,” said OHP Captain Stan Walker.
The pilot, an Air Force flight instructor immediately ejected several hundred feet from the crash site, and while he wasn’t injured, his nerves were rattled.
“He wasn’t at first, but the longer he goes his knees get a little weaker,” said Walker.
While the DEQ was called in, investigators believe any excess fuel burned off on impact.
“It was a pretty large fire initially and smoke could be seen from quite a ways so it's obviously the jet fuel,” said Walker.
Recovery efforts are expected to last two to three days as searchers looking for the pilot seat make their way through thick brush and trees.
“You’re looking for something that’s black that probably came down with pretty good force, so its probaby embedded in the trees somewhere,” said Walker.
But despite the environmental challenges, troopers say if the plane had to come down, it couldn't have crashed in a better location.
“There’s no homes near this place, there’s no structures whatsoever,” said Walker.
The Red Cross is on site with food and water. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.