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Air Force: 1 pilot dies, another survives after F15Cs collide

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: One pilot died after being rescued by a fishing boat in Gulf, official says
  • F-15Cs collided during training exercise, Air Force says
  • Planes were part of the 33rd Fighter Wing based at Eglin Air Force Base
  • Crash happened at 3 p.m. ET, about 50 miles south of Panama City, Florida
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(CNN) -- An Air Force fighter pilot died Wednesday after two F-15C jets collided during a training exercise over the Gulf of Mexico, according to Air Force officials.

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Two F-15C fighter jets, like the one pictured, collided over the Gulf of Mexico, the Air Force says.

The planes were from the 33rd Fighter Wing, a combat-flying unit out of Eglin Air Force Base, near Pensacola, Florida.

A spokesman for the wing said the pilot died after having been rescued by a fishing boat and transported to the hospital at the base. The pilot of the other jet was also rescued and was listed in good condition, he said.

The crash happened at about 3 p.m. ET, about 50 miles south of Tyndall Air Force Base which is in Panama City, Florida. A statement from the 33rd said the pilots were rescued at about 6 p.m. ET.

"The 33rd FW Nomads and Team Eglin have suffered a great loss today and my heart goes out to the family and friends of our former airman," said wing commander Col. Todd Harmer in a written statement.

"We will continue to do everything we can to assist our families and airmen at this tragic time."

Capt. Jim McPherson of the Coast Guard told CNN the crew of a Coast Guard aircraft on a training mission spotted a parachute dropping into the Gulf Wednesday afternoon.

The crew used radar and an automated identification system to detect a fishing boat in the area and directed that boat to the area where the parachute landed.

The Air Force was not identifying the pilots late Wednesday pending notification of their families. Harmer said both were "assigned to the wing for quite some time."

He said the Air Force will convene a board of officers to investigate the crash and determine its cause. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Larry Shaughnessy contributed to this report.

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