A military training jet crashed into a 120-unit apartment complex today, setting a building on fire, killing at least two people and injuring nine others.
Two people apparently visiting the Amber Falls Crossing complex died in the parking lot, police spokesman Melvin Joyner said. Earlier reports put the death toll at four, but police and officials at Sheppard Air Force Base said later that they could confirm only two.
The plane’s two crew members ejected before the crash and suffered minor injuries.
The plane, a T-38 Talon assigned to the 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base, went down about 10 a.m.
It hit one of the 11 apartment buildings in the two-story complex and then landed in the parking lot. Parts came to rest at the front door of an elementary school.
“It took out about six cars,” said Eric Struve, who works at a nearby restaurant. “It hit about 50 feet away from the (apartment) office. A lady that works here was blown out of the office, but she’s OK.”
Mary Hayes, a secretary at the school next door, said the plane went right over the school, which is out for the summer. Parts of the plane were scattered across the campus, some near the school’s front door.
The fire was extinguished within an hour of the accident, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike Cox said.
A Wichita Falls hospital, Bethania Regional Health Care, reported treating three people. One of the three, a 29-year-old woman, was seriously injured and in surgery, said Jill Myer, hospital spokeswoman. The two others weren’t expected to be admitted, she said.
Six people were being treated at Wichita Falls General Hospital for smoke inhalation.
The T-38, a twin-engine, two-seater, is manufactured by Northrop.
Sgt. Thomas Schroeder, spokesman at Sheppard, said the plane was on a training flight. Sheppard is located just north of Wichita Falls, a city 125 miles northwest of Dallas.
ILLUSTRATION: Map: Military aircraft crashes into apartment complex