2 dead after military jet crashes near airport in Alabama

The T-38 trainer aircraft crashed near an Ala. airport during a training mission

Two pilots died after a military jet crashed near an Alabama airport Friday evening during a training mission, officials said.

The aircraft landed in a wooded area near the Montgomery Regional Airport, according to airport executive director Marshall Taggart. The airport was notified of the crash shortly after 5 p.m. local time.

The T-38 trainer aircraft was assigned to the 14th Flying Training Wing, based out of Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, the Air Force said in a statement.

First Lt. Scot Ames Jr., 24, from Pekin, Indiana, was identified by the training wing on Sunday as one of the pilots who died. Ames was an instructor pilot with the 50th Flying Training Squadron at Columbus Air Force Base.

The second pilot, Renshi Uesaki, 25, was identified Monday. Uesaki was a student pilot from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force who was attending undergraduate pilot training at Columbus.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. A safety investigation board will be investigating, the Air Force said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two pilots involved in this incident," said Col. Seth Graham, the 14th Flying Training Wing commander, in a statement Friday night. "There are no words that can describe the sadness that accompanies the loss of our teammates."

A student and U.S. Air Force instructor pilot died in the crash, Graham said during a press briefing Saturday. They were participating in a routine off-station training mission.

"Every weekend we send as part of our syllabus for students to do what we call a cross-country training mission, where they fly away from Columbus around the area to get training at other airfields," Graham said.

The pilots were on the first leg of a two-leg mission, said Graham, who did not know their ultimate destination.

The base was temporarily suspending those types of off-station missions, Graham said.

ABC News' Jamie Aranoff, Luis Martinez and Matt Seyler contributed to this report.

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