T-38 Crash: Pilots Eject Before Crash

A T-38 Talon plane crash caused an instructor pilot and a student to receive minor injuries when they were ejected. The crash happened near Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, around 7 a.m. after a bird reportedly struck it.

Instructor pilot Major Christopher Thompson and student pilot German 1st Lt. Julius Dressbach were both ejected safely.

Each was taken to separate area hospitals via ambulance to be treated for minor injuries.

“The deputies did tell me that the pilot that was injured apparently was hung in the trees and fell through the trees to get down while trying to get out of it,” Sheriff David Duke told NBC affiliate “He was covered with jet fuel but then again, from the crash and their ejection and coming down through it and the fire. He had made a comment that he was involved in the fire ball when he went through it and he had some minor burns on his face and neck.”

Witnesses reported hearing a loud noise at 6:48 a.m.

“All of a sudden you hear a big loud noise, it sounded like a blow torch and then just a big loud bang, so we flew out of bed, threw shoes on went outside and you just see a big mushroom cloud everywhere,” Melissa Baker told

This isn’t the first time a T-38 Talon, which is used as part of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, has crashed near Sheppard. In 2009, an instructor and a student were killed after their aircraft crash-landed, according to the Record News.

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