OSHKOSH - There was a landing mishap involving a military jet Thursday at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.
An F-16 with the Alabama Air National Guard landed around 11 a.m., but not on the runway.
"We saw two F-16s putting on a show. The first F-16 landed," said Chris McCartin of Melbourne, Australia.
However the second plane was coming in and "it wasn't slowing down," said McCartin.
McCartin said the jet appeared to be going so fast he thought it was going to take off again.
Larry Clark, a pilot from Arizona estimated the F-16 was going about 70 miles an hour as it approached.
"I thought gee, he's going a little fast to try to make the turnoff on the end," said Clark.
Clark said sure enough the plane went off the runway.
"Within seconds he was off the end of the runway, into the grass," Clark said.
Clark said the aircraft then hit a low spot.
"Over there, and kind of jumped up and back down hard and slid to a stop," said Clark.
McCartin said it sounded like a big thud.
"You could hear it definitely hear it. We all knew straight away," said McCartin.
Everyone went quiet, according to witnesses. And Clark says at that point the engine was still running.
"The engine of course scooped up a lot of dirt. There was a lot of dirt coming out of the tailpipe," Clark said. "There was a lot of smoke a little bit of fire came out of the tailpipe after it came to a stop."
"We don't know the cause, how that happened, or why it happened," said EAA Communications Director Dick Knapinski.
Knapinski said it could be anything from a mechanical malfunction to pilot error.
He added no one was ever in danger, and the pilot was also safe.
"The pilot did get out of the aircraft, as walking around, got his personal effects out of the aircraft," said Knapinski.
A spokesperson with the Alabama Air National Guard says the pilot is a member of one of its units.
The state's only F-16 unit is based in Montgomery.
The guard says the pilot was taken to a hospital as a precaution and has since been released.
No damage or cost estimate was available when we spoke with guard officials.
Even a couple of hours after the incident, EAA-goers wandered to the scene to snap photos as investigators checked out the plane.
"We're hoping it doesn't stop the show for too long and we can see some more airplanes fly soon," said McCartin.
EAA's main runway was shut down for some time due to the mishap.
However, the afternoon air show did begin on time with the F-16 still off the north end of the runway.
Also, the Air Force has taken over the investigation.
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