F-16C fighter jets collide
Two US F-16C fighter jets smashed into one another whilst mid-air over rural Georgia, but both pilots successfully ejected.Photoe courtests Master Sergeant Edward Snyder/DVIDShub.net

Two American fighter jets collided in mid-air during exercises by the Air National Guard over a rural section of Georgia but both pilots safely ejected from their aircraft.

Officials are investigating the cause of the crash, which reportedly filled the night sky with oily smoke as the entangled jets fell towards the earth.

Authorities believe they have located the bulk of the wreckage and that no one was injured, reports CNN. Officials warned anyone who finds a remaining piece of the jets not to touch it, for safety reasons.

The F-16C jets crashed in a heavily wooded area of Jefferson County, said Colonel Nicholas Gentile Jr, commander of the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base near Columbia, South Carolina. He said the accident occurred during routine training.

Both pilots were taken to a nearby Georgia hospital for evaluation before returning to South Carolina. However, officials on the scene said both men were talking and moving normally immediately after the accident, reports WYFF-TV.

"They were able to walk away," said Gentile. The men are now with their families, he said, adding: "Both pilots are safe. Both pilots are in good condition."

"We have a true blessing that both of our pilots were well-experienced," said Major General Robert Livingston. "They did eject safely."

The unit will temporarily suspend flight operations to focus on the investigation but is expected to return to the air by the end of the week to prepare for an upcoming deployment. Gentile did not divulge where that deployment will be.

The collision comes just days after a US Air Force F-16 - assigned to the Thunderbirds flight demonstration team - crashed after a flyover at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.