SAN ANTONIO — A small military plane crashed Tuesday afternoon near Rolling Oaks Mall. Officials said the two people inside the aircraft ejected and parachuted to safety.
Judson ISD Media Relations Director Steve Linscomb said the plane crashed between Rolling Meadows Elementary and Veterans High School. People reported hearing a "big boom," but no one saw the crash.
Police said the T-6 Texan II military aircraft crashed into an empty field. The plane, a part of the 12th Training Wing, belongs to the Joint Base San Antonio Randolph Base (JBSA). Fire officials said the plane went down because of "engine failure."
The Air Force grounded all of its T-6 training aircraft in February for a month because the oxygen levels in the cockpit were low. People suffered shortness of breath and other effects of hypoxia while piloting the aircraft.
The Air Education and Training Command based at JBSA announced last week plans to re-design the plane's entire oxygen system, controls for pilots in flight and ramping up maintenance and training. The upgrades will take 2-4 years to implement.
The 12th Flying Training Wing later released this statement:
A 12th Flying Training Wing T-6A Texan II crashed near Rolling Oaks Mall at approximately 4 p.m. today. The crew ejected and is safe with minor injuries reported at the site. Both were transported to the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Medical Clinic for evaluation and both pilots were released.
There were no civilian casualties, and the extent of damage to property is being evaluated.
The 12th Flying Training Wing commander has established an interim safety board to preserve evidence until a formal safety board is established this week.
Fire and safety personnel from JBSA and the 12th Flying Training Wing and some local communities responded soon after the accident.
The 12th FTW commander has suspended T-6A Texan II flying training at JBSA-Randolph and will evaluate its resumption over the coming days.
“We are grateful to the community and the first responders who rushed to help our Airmen at the site of the crash,” said Col. Mark Robinson, 12th Flying Training Wing commander.
“While we can’t rule out any specific cause, initial indications do not give us reason to believe that the On Board Oxygen Generation System is a factor in today’s accident. We are pleased to confirm that our pilots were treated and released from our medical facility,” Robinson said.