Local Man Who Witnessed F-15 Crash Rushed To Rescue Pilots
Posted June 6, 2003 7:02 a.m. EDT
GOLDSBORO, N.C. — The crash zone around an F-15 fighter jet in Johnston County is still off limits to the public.
The Air Force is working with Johnston County deputies to keep people out so they can figure out why the plane crashed near Four Oaks late Wednesday afternoon.
A man who helped find the missing crew said he feared the worst when the F-15E Strike Eagle stationed at nearby Seymour Johnson Air Force Base crashed just a short distance away into a heavily-wooded area.
The two pilots ejected just before the plane went down. Both were said to be OK. Wednesday night. No one on the ground received any injuries, either.
"We saw the parachuters coming down, and we were worried more about them than the plane at the time," said Jonathan Allen, who lives near the crash site, about 25 miles from the base.
Allen and his wife, Lori, raced to the woodline, not knowing what to expect. After the two pilots had ejected from the plane and fallen into trees, there was a good chance they could be injured or unconscious.
Allen and a few others found a pilot in a tree.
"The lieutenant (Christopher Jackson), he was found about 30 feet off the road," Allen said, "up in a tree about 25 to 30 feet high."
Jackson told Allen the plane had just taken off from the base.
"He told us the guy he was flying with was approximately half a mile away," Allen said, "and he pointed in a direction, and we went up a path and found him."
Maj. John Vorhees also was in a tree.
"The one who was in the back side of the field," Allen said, "he was hurting from hanging there by all the straps of the parachute."
Allen said Voorhees eventually released his gear and dropped to the ground.
Air Force 2nd Lt. Jamie Humphries praised the efforts of Allen and others who came to the pilots' aid.
"The local community, the locals who observed the accident, who came to help the pilots are much appreciated," Humphries said.
An investigation into the cause of the crash continued Friday. The base said Jackson and Voorhees were doing fine Friday night, but neither pilot was talking publicly about the crash.