Two Airmen Killed in Jet Crash at Vance AFB in Oklahoma

Two airmen were killed Thursday in an accident involving two jets during the landing phase of a training exercise at a U.S. Air Force base in northwestern Oklahoma, a military official said.

The crash occurred shortly after 9 a.m. at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Oklahoma City. Two airmen aboard one of the T-38 Talons were killed, Col. Corey Simmons, commander of the 71st Flying Training Wing, said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

He said the two airmen on the other T-38 Talon were not hurt.

Simmons struggled to control his emotions as he described as much as he could of what happened and how the approximately 1,200 military personnel on the base were coping with the tragedy.

“We are a close-knit family,” Simmons said, appearing to choke back tears, “and when tragedies like this occur, every member of the U.S. military, Vance, Enid, feels it.”

The military will not release the names of the service members who died until 24 hours after their families have been notified, Simmons said, citing military protocol.

An Air Force safety board that functions in a similar way to the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, and it typically takes 30-60 days to determine the cause of such accidents, Simmons said.

He declined to speculate on what might have happened.

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