• 75°

Ducks caused CAFB jet crash, report says

An Air Force Accident Investigation Board has determined the ducks shattered the cockpit canopy of a jet trainer on Jan. 18 and debris from the canopy entered the aircraft’s two engines, which resulted in total engine failure.

The crash occurred near Batesville. The pilots, 2nd Lt. Todd A. Campbell and Maj. Bill C. Lester, both stationed at Columbus Air Force base, ejected from the T-38 Talon plane and were not injured.

“The AIB concluded that the pieces of the canopy, ingested by the engines, degraded engine performance to a point insufficient to sustain powered flight,” according to statement over the weekend from the Air Force.

“Major Lester attempted multiple unsuccessful restarts of both engines while attempting to gain altitude. As the aircraft continued to decelerate and began to descend, Major Lester commanded ejection and both pilots ejected without injury about 10 miles west of Batesville,” the statement said.

After ejecting from the airplane and reaching the ground, Lester and a group of local farmers helped Campbell, whose parachute caught in a tree, leaving him suspended about 30 feet from the ground, the statement said.

The aircraft was a total loss and property damage was limited to ground scarring and fuel and hydraulic contamination.