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2 crewmen die after collision of A.F. jets

Photographs taken just before a training jet and an F-16 fighter collided in flight will be closely examined for clues into the accident that killed two crewmen.

The two military planes collided Wednesday over the Mojave Desert, just weeks after the first-ever suspension of all military pilot training for a safety review. The T-38 crashed into a remote gunnery range at Edwards Air Force Base.U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. William Nusz and British Air Force Flight Lt. Leigh Alexander Fox, who was participating in a pilot exchange program, were killed, officials said.

The F-16 had minor wing damage and landed safely on a dry lake bed runway, said Lt. Col. Bob Williams, a base spokesman. Its two crew members were not hurt.

The Air Force would not speculate on the cause of the crash.

Edwards is in Southern California and home to the Air Force Test Pilot School, which tests military planes and is also a space shuttle landing site. The F-16 and T-38 were in a routine flight alongside a B-1 bomber, taking photographs to document the accuracy of dummy practice bombs, base spokesman John Haire said.

Instead, the pictures from the F-16 may provide clues as to what went wrong. It's not known whether any film was recovered from the training jet.

The collision occurred while the aircraft were at about 2,700 feet.

The T-38 virtually disintegrated on impact, spreading debris over a three-quarter mile area. The largest visible portions of the twin-engine plane were one engine and the engines' cover. The plane's impact created a crater about 4-feet-deep and 200 yards wide.