$16-Million Jet Fighter Destroyed in Florida Collision With Wild Pigs

Associated Press

A pair of wild pigs that wandered off course were hit by an F-16 fighter, forcing the pilot to eject as the jet veered off a runway and crashed at Jacksonville International Airport.

The pigs were killed. The pilot was bruised. The $16-million jet was destroyed.

Lt. Col. Sam Carter, 46, was rolling down the runway at 160 m.p.h. after landing Tuesday night when he saw “a brown blur” and felt a bump before his Air National Guard jet veered toward a ditch and a stand of pines.

Carter, who has flown jets for more than 24 years, including sorties over Vietnam, ejected before the aircraft plowed into the woods.


“It’s a very inglorious way for a $16-million aircraft to come to an end,” said Carter, who was bruised but otherwise uninjured. It was the first time he had ever bailed out of an aircraft.

The rocket-powered ejection seat carried Carter 200 feet into the air, barely high enough for his chute to open. Carter said the parachute blossomed just before his feet hit the ground.

Col. Don Garrett, commanding officer of the Florida Air National Guard’s 125th Fighter Interceptor Group, said the pigs must have been struck by the plane’s left landing gear.