LOUISVILLE, Ga. — Armed military patrols continue to sweep the forested area east of Louisville where two fighter jets went down Tuesday night.
Lt. Stephen Hudson, the 169th Fighter Wing public affairs officer, said Friday that the teams in the area are still searching for debris and securing the area where the F-16 jets went down after the mid-air collision.
“There are a few things that are classified on the plane that need to come off. That’s why you see security forces out there protecting the site,” Hudson said.
The ejection seat remains upended in the grass beside the roadway on Georgia Hwy. 17 near the first crash site discovered early Wednesday morning.
“Yeah, they’re not going to move them,” Hudson said. “They photograph them, then they plot where they are on a GPS and then the accident investigation board comes in and takes a look at them. Once they took a look at it, then we remove it.”
Jefferson County Emergency Services Director Jim Anderson, who is handling logistics and requests for the state from the military, said that it appears the investigatory Air Force safety board should be in town next week.
In the meantime, armed men search the woods and a Georgia State Patrol Helicopter circles.
A spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said that civilians have found several pieces, including members of a logging crew who were working off Eden Church Road.
“People are trying to be helpful,” Hudson said. “The best thing is to let us know if you find something and we’ll come pick it up.”
Military officials have warned that the debris might be contaminated with hazardous materials.
“Everything found so far has been in rural areas,” Anderson said. “As far as the hazardous materials go, it is basically the military aviation fuel. Some of the materials the plane is made of could cause some problems, but it is not a major hazardous material that is going to require a hazmat team. We just need to leave it alone and let them handle it.”
The county’s recreation department gym is housing around 100 Army military police, Anderson said. They have set up beds there across Highway 17 from the command center at Louisville’s Municipal Airport.
“Anywhere there is a military presence the public needs to stay back and allow them to do their job,” Anderson said.