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F-16 Fighter and Civilian Aircraft Collide Near Sarasota, FloridaAired November 16, 2000 - 4:33 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news in Florida, and it has nothing to do with the presidential election. An F-16 fighter jet has collided with a small plane of some sort, perhaps a Cessna, 20 miles south of McDeal Air Force Base. That's near Sarasota, Florida. These pictures you're seeing is where the area where the F-16 went down. We saw some pictures earlier. But since we are live into this story at moment, we're unable to show you the area around a golf course several miles way, where apparently the small plane went down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll correct that. That's just part of the brush fire that is burning because of it. Right in the center of the smoke is already pretty well destroyed, is what's left of the F-16. As our -- yes, the sheriff's office just confirmed the pilot of the F- 16 has been recovered and he is OK. They are still getting reports, though, of possibly two dead in the vicinity of where the light plane crashed. And I am going to swing the aircraft and you will see that area. It's about two-and-a-half miles north of here. So, both aircraft went quite aways apart before they hit the ground.
Now, we don't know much more what happened up there, and unfortunately I couldn't hear some of what you were saying because I was talking to the sheriff on the other frequency.
WATERS: All right, there you are have it, the latest from the sheriff's department in the area. The F-16 pilot has turned up OK. But there is the report of two dead aboard the small craft, which, as you heard them report there on WFLA, is about 2 1/2 miles north of the F-16 crash site.
So, 20 miles south of the McDeal Air Force Base here, midair collision, F-16 and a Cessna, two dead and an F-16 pilot recovered and we are hearing he is OK. There is a brush fire going on and several emergency vehicles in the area.
We have a man on the phone with us now.
Your name, sir, Sean.
Sean, are you there?
SEAN GROSSO, EYEWITNESS: Yes, I am there.
WATERS: Tell me what you saw, please. GROSSO: The plane, the military jet, had hit a small, single- engine jet. Ran right into it right in the air. The single-engine jet had exploded. The Navy pilot, apparently, he is all right. He parachuted out and we have debris all over the course.
WATERS: What course are we talking about? Where did the hit take place?
GROSSO: Rosedale Golf and Country Club.
WATERS: And that is where?
GROSSO: That's just east of the interstate, I-75.
WATERS: Is that in Sarasota?
GROSSO: Yes, near Sarasota. It's in Manatee County.
WATERS: And the jet would be out of McDill?
GROSSO: I am not sure, I can't verify.
WATERS: Is that a training area?
GROSSO: Yes, McDill is a training area.
WATERS: So the area that you are describing around this Rosedale Golf and Country Club would be part of the training area.
GROSSO: No, it's not.
WATERS: It's not. What is the operation at the Rosedale Golf and Country Club now.
GROSSO: It's just a semi-private golf course.
WATERS: No, I mean the operation surrounding the plane that went down there.
GROSSO: I am not sure.
WATERS: Where are you?
GROSSO: Right now, I am in the golf shop.
WATERS: You're in the golf shop. Are there people around there with you?
GROSSO: Yes, all around.
WATERS: Anybody else there who saw something that you may have not have?
GROSSO: No, no, sir.
WATERS: OK, Sean, thanks. Sean Grosso at the Rosendale Golf and Country Club. That's in Sarasota east of I-75 so you know the approximate location of where this Cessna went down. We are looking at pictures of where the F-16 went down 2 1/2 miles south of that site.
Let's listen to WFLA, see if they have anything more for us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is the wreckage right there below us.
WATERS: OK, we have lost that picture momentarily from the WFLA helicopter.
Again, the story is simple, but yet complicated. An F-16 fighter jet with a Cessna colliding over the Rosedale Golf and County Club near Sarasota. The F-16 is down. The pilot of the F-16 apparently is OK. Two dead aboard the light plane, apparently a Cessna. What brought them together in that area, still a question unanswered.
We will continue to follow this story. First we will take a break.
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