Enid residents heartbroken over jet crash that killed 2 airmen at Vance Air Force Base

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ENID, Okla. (KFOR) - Two airmen are dead after an accident during a routine landing at Vance Air Force Base, Thursday morning.

Investigators are preserving the scene as much as they can, closing operations at least through the weekend.

Base officials said on Thursday night that their first priority is caring for the families of the pilots and the community in Enid.

In Enid, the sound of plane engines overhead is a given.

"This doesn’t happen often," Col. Corey Simmons said. "There isn’t a textbook on how to handle this.”

But Thursday, the skies surrounding Vance Air Force Base are quiet.

All operations are shut down until further notice after a training flight involving at least two T-38 Talons went horribly wrong.

“I have family in the military," Klaire Hopkins said. "My boyfriend's family was at Vance, so it definitely hits home for me."

Two pilots were killed during the landing. The wreckage lying upside down and the plane's nose broken in half.

The crew inside the second plane survived without injury.

Officials say it's a small miracle in a situation that is sending a shock wave through the community.

“We are a close knit family, and when tragedies like this occurred, every member here feels it," Col. Simmons said.

Just miles off the base sits BlueJays Barber Shop. It's a notable spot for airmen in town. The owner of the shop, Josh Ward, is stunned.

“I just hope they can figure out what happened," Josh Warn said. "It’s heartbreaking for sure.”

Vance sees nearly 1,000 landings a day, leaving this flyover town in a state of grief.

“It’s amazing you are willing to put your life on the line and to really give up everything to serve," Hopkins said. "It won’t be forgotten. It’s worth something.”

The 71st Flying Training Wing will release the names of the fallen airmen on Friday. All they can say is it's probably a young man and his superior.

“We cherish your thoughts and prayers in the coming days ahead," Capt. Randy Sellers said.

This is the first training death at Vance since 2000. Base officials tell us the investigation could take up to two months.

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