updated 7/21/2004 11:27:20 PM ET 2004-07-22T03:27:20

A pair of fighter jets collided in Oregon on Wednesday while conducting a training exercise, killing two reservists and injuring another.

At least one of the dead was a pilot; the other was a pilot or a weapons operator, said Capt. Michael Braibish of the Oregon National Guard.

A third crew member survived and was to be released Wednesday evening from the emergency room at Mid-Columbia Medical Center.

“In some respects, it’s very amazing — no broken bones, no abrasions, minor injuries,” said Dr. John Jacobson, who treated the unidentified airman.

The jets, both F-18 warplanes, collided over the Columbia River near Arlington, about 120 miles east of Portland.

Debris from the jets was scattered as far away as Interstate 84, eight miles south of Arlington.

“We felt it, like a supersonic boom, like someone ran into the building,” said Linda Williams, an employee of the Village Inn in Arlington.

The jets were based at the Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, according to Nancy Corey, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Seattle.

The jets were conducting a low-altitude training exercise from a National Guard base in Portland to a bombing range in Boardman, Ore. One plane was a single seater, while the other had two seats.

Andrew David was casting fishing nets on the river with two relatives when they heard the jets collide. He saw two parachutes, one of which landed in the water.

When he tried to help the man, it was clear the pilot was dead.

“When you see something like this, you don’t expect to be right in the middle of it,” David said. “Debris was dropping by us. He was pretty beat up. It was pretty bad. We don’t want to see anything like this again.”

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