- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A military plane manufactured in 1968 crashed Wednesday morning during a routine training exercise near Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, officials said.

The Air Force T-38C Talon II went down at 8:30 a.m., and the exact cause of the crash wasn’t immediately clear. Officials at the base said an investigation is already underway.

“An interim safety board has been convened, mainly with the interest of preserving the evidence and gathering necessary data and witness statements,” Lt. Col. Marc Deshaies told reporters during a Wednesday afternoon news conference at the base.

Mr. Deshaies said the 50-year-old aircraft is regularly used for training purposes, and that the Talon II is “primarily used for pilot training for what we consider the advanced phase of training.”

An instructor pilot and a student pilot were in the aircraft at the time, officials said. Their names have not yet been released, but both were admitted to a nearby hospital for evaluation and released later Wednesday with no major injuries.

There were no houses or other structures near the crash. Local media reported the crash site is north of the base, just off Highway 373.

Wednesday’s incident marks the second military plane crash in about three weeks.

Earlier this month, nine members of the Puerto Rico National Guard died when their military cargo plane crashed into a Georgia highway.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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