Wednesday, August 17, 2016

6 military jets make unexpected landing in New Hampshire: Low-flying jets diverted after refueling issue, official says

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. —Many New Hampshire residents were alarmed early Wednesday morning as military jets were heard flying low to the ground.

Six F-16 fighter jets that had departed from South Carolina's Shaw Air Force Base zipped through the skies above many cities and towns around 3 a.m.

"I jumped up, and I went to the window, and I could hear multiple jets," said Lance Richardson, of Exeter. "It wasn't just one that went by."

The jets were headed to their home base of Aviano Air Base in Italy when their refueling tanker encountered mechanical issues, according to Lt. Col. Greg Heilshorn, of the New Hampshire National Guard.

As a result, the jets were unable to refuel over the ocean. They were diverted to Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth.

Many residents in the area said they were confused by the noise.

"There was a chance of severe showers early in the morning," said Vicki Connors, of Nottingham. "It was 2 or 3, I was sound asleep and heard this rumble. Oh my God -- a tornado!"

"I panicked," said CarrieJaye Scott, of Nottingham. "I thought something was going on. I ran into the kids' room and put my arms up as if to brace them in case something was happening, and eventually the sound stopped."

Scott said that her house shook to the foundation. When she learned why, she took her sons to Pease to get a glimpse of the jets.

"I definitely feel better," she said. "Knowing and seeing that they're here makes me feel a little bit better."

The jets will remain in New Hampshire until Friday before continuing their mission, Heilshorn said.

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