Pilot drops fuel tanks over Orangeburg Co. after in-flight emergency

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. — At approximately 12:30 p.m. EST, a 20th Fighter Wing F-16 C pilot was on a training mission and experienced an in-flight emergency.  After following checklist procedures, the pilot jettisoned two 370-gallon external fuel tanks over an unpopulated area near North, South Carolina.  Jettisoning the fuel tanks allowed the pilot to make a safe landing at North Auxiliary Airfield, South Carolina.

“We’re very happy that no one was hurt and that the pilot was able to land safely,” said Col. William Jones, 20th Fighter Wing vice commander.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

On Thursday October 29, a combined search team from Shaw Air Force Base and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and Department of Natural Resources successfully recovered two external fuel

tanks from Etheredge Mill Pond in Orangeburg County, South Carolina.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, there are no environmental concerns regarding toxicity and damage to the pond. DHEC said any fuel leaked from the tanks is a bio-substance.  As a bio-substance, it would have risen to the top water level of the pond and subsequently evaporated safely into the atmosphere within hours.

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