By Jennifer Coleman, The Associated Pres

By Arthur H. Rothstein, The Associated Press
Friday January 18, 2002

TUCSON, Ariz. — Two A-10 attack jets from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base collided and crashed Thursday in a desert area just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, killing one pilot, a military spokesman said. 

Base officials said the second pilot was airlifted to a Sierra Vista hospital, where he was in stable condition. 

The single-seat Thunderbolt II jets, assigned to the 355th Wing at the Tucson base, were on a training mission when they crashed about 25 miles east of Douglas at about 3 p.m. MST, base spokesman Master Sgt. Dan Carpenter said. A third aircraft involved in the mission returned safely to the base. 

There was no immediate word on a possible cause. Neither pilot was identified immediately, pending notification of their families. 

The crash site was in a rugged area north of the U.S.-Mexico border in the southeast corner of Arizona.  

Francisco Honne, a Douglas Fire Department firefighter who went to the crash site, said he could see military helicopters circling the wreckage Thursday afternoon. 

The clinical nursing supervisor at Sierra Vista Regional Health Center said one pilot was brought to the hospital. 

Bridget Schuldies wouldn’t disclose the pilot’s name or injuries. 

“He’s been X-rayed, he’s walking and talking,” said Schuldies. 

Davis-Monthan’s 355th Wing, with more than 6,100 personnel, has six flying squadrons. 

Its fleet and missions include close air support, forward air controllers, air liaison officers, EC-130 aircraft for command, control and communications warfare, air control radar and combat support forces. 

The wing also trains all pilots and crews flying A-10, OA-10 and EC-130 planes. 

The A-10 aircraft, used in close air support of ground forces, gained fame during the Gulf War when they attacked Iraqi tanks. 

The last crash involving an A-10 from Davis-Monthan occurred in May 1998 a few miles southwest of Tucson’s Kitt Peak. 

Capt. Christopher Hamilton of the Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., ejected before the crash and suffered only minor injuries. 

Pilot Amy Svoboda died when her A-10 crashed in May 1997 during a night mission over the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range in southwestern Arizona. 

One month earlier, an A-10 Thunderbolt flown by Capt. Craig Button vanished after it mysteriously broke off from a training mission heading for the Goldwater desert range. 

The wreckage of the bomb-laden jet was found 2 1/2 weeks later on a snowy mountainside in the Colorado Rockies, with Button’s remains in the wreckage.