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South Carolina Air National Guard F-16s Crash in Georgia

by Christopher Nelson /  / Updated 
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Fighter Wing, prepares for landing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., April 11, 2015.Ashleigh S. Pavelek / U.S. Air National Guard, file

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Two F-16 fighter pilots ejected safely when their jets collided over Georgia late Tuesday, officials said.

The jets had been performing "routine night-flying operations" when the incident occurred at around 9:15 p.m. ET, said the South Carolina Air National Guard.

 A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Fighter Wing, prepares for landing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., April 11, 2015. Ashleigh S. Pavelek / U.S. Air National Guard, file

The pilots — assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing out of McEntire Joint National Guard Base in South Carolina — were flying over a military-operating area in Jefferson County, about 150 miles southwest of the base.

The aircraft was destroyed, but the pilots were found, treated at a hospital and released, said Col. Nicholas Gentile of the 169th Fighter Wing Commander.

The training "was very regular for us," Gentile said at a news conference early Wednesday.

An Air National Guard spokesman told NBC affiliate WIS TV the jets crashed in separate wooded areas. There were no reports of injuries on the ground, and the U.S. Air Force will conduct a detailed safety investigation.

This latest incident comes after other recent crashes, including one last Thursday when a pilot with the Navy's elite Blue Angels squadron was killed in Tennessee — just hours after an Air Force Thunderbird pilot was forced to eject from his jet in Colorado.

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