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Nearby Residents Saw, Heard SAFB T-38 Crash

A Sheppard Air Force Base T-38 jet crashed about two miles south of base just before seven a.m. Friday.

The early-morning T-38 crash Friday could be heard and seen from miles away.

Nearby residents say they heard a series of loud booms and when then looked to the sky, all they could see was a huge plume of smoke.

Gary Whitaker says, "At first it was like the fireworks, the big artillery shells."

Alyssa Barker says, "All of a sudden you hear a big loud noise, it sounded like a blow torch and then just a big loud bang."

"You hear one of them first like the big high-pressure gas line 'pshhhh' and then 'boom,'" Whitaker says.

Those "boom" noises were from a Sheppard Air Force Base T-38 crashing into a field near a residential area outside Wichita Falls shortly after take-off.

They were so loud, they served as a wake up call for those nearby.

"We flew out of bed, threw shoes on went outside and you just see a big mushroom cloud everywhere," Barker says.

"I sat my coffee cup down, ran out into the yard 20 feet, heard three or four more within probably 10 to 12 seconds, looked down toward Pecanway, saw the plane trying to explode," Whitaker says.

Looking to the sky, knowing that there was little, if anything, they could do to help.

"We walked down here to see what all the cops were doing and all of the sudden we heard screaming, so my step-dad and i took off running to the neighbors' because we didn't know if it was the pilot because they couldn't find him yet," Barker says.

"I was hoping and praying that the pilots would be safe, which they were, I heard, and no one on the ground hurt or killed.  Thank God for that," Whitaker says.

Though the aircraft did go down in a residential area, it crashed into a wooded area, so not only were the pilots okay but everyone on the ground was as well.
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