Listen: 911 callers report seeing Thunderbird crash, pilot eject

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has released the audio of eight 911 calls that came in after an F-16 Thunderbird crashed in Colorado Springs Thursday afternoon.

The plane crashed in a grassy area near Powers Boulevard and Fontaine Boulevard after a performance at the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony Thursday afternoon. The pilot, Maj. Alex Turner, safely ejected before the plane went down and was uninjured. Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the crash.
Many of the 911 calls were from residents in the area of the crash, who described seeing a plane go down near their houses. Several mentioned they’d see the pilot eject or parachute from the plane.

The first call came in at 1:01 p.m.

“You might be getting a lot of phone calls about this right now, but we just witnessed a pilot eject from a fighter jet,” the caller says.

The caller tells the dispatcher the plane crashed, and gives an approximate location.

The next two calls came in just seconds later.

In one, the caller tells the dispatcher the pilot was “really close to the ground” when he ejected from the plane.

In another, the caller tells the dispatcher a plane crashed at the corner of Fontaine and Powers, “right across the street from my house.”

The next two calls came in at 1:02 p.m.

In one, the caller says, “I believe I just saw a Blue Angels jet go down.” The dispatcher confirms the location of the crash, and the caller says he did see a parachute.

In another, the caller reports seeing the crash from a distance, and asks the dispatcher to “just send somebody to help the pilot.”

The sixth call came in at 1:03 p.m. The caller tells the dispatcher “there’s people out in the field, trying to find whoever is out there.” She says “you can see parts of the plane in the field.” The dispatcher asks if there is any smoke or fire, and the caller says no. The dispatcher asks the caller to tell people to keep away from the plane.

The second caller called again at 1:05 p.m. He told the dispatcher he’d met some witnesses who told him where the pilot landed. The caller also said he hadn’t seen any smoke or an explosion when the plane crashed, but did hear “a loud bang.”

At 1:07 p.m., an air traffic manager at the FAA control tower called and told the dispatcher the crash had happened five miles southeast of the Colorado Springs Airport main terminal, and that El Paso County sheriff’s deputies were on their way.

Related: Witnesses describe moment pilot ejected from jet

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