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Updated: 2:15 PM- HILL AIR FORCE BASE - A friendly fire incident at the Utah Test and Training Range is being blamed on pilot error.
Officials from Hill Air Force Base's 388th Fighter Wing said the F-16 fighter pilot, who has not been identified, "momentarily lost visual reference" with a practice target on the range during a night-flying exercise on April 8.
The pilot then misidentified a Sports Utility Vehicle, parked 1.5 miles away from the intended target, as the vehicle he was supposed to shoot at.
The SUV was carrying two soldiers from Ft. Lewis, Wash., who had to dive away from their rented vehicle when the shooting began. The soldiers escaped with minor injuries and called for the training mission to be aborted.
An investigation, ordered by 388th Commander Scott Dennis, has concluded that some changes to "tactics and procedures" Dennis said.
"From this incident, our pilots and the ground units we host on the UTTR have taken away valuable lessons on the importance of close communication and coordination," Dennis said. "We are fully committed to keeping the range a safe place."
The pilot will undergo additional classroom, simulator and flight training before he can be requalified to fly with the wing, Hill officials said.
-- Matthew D. LaPlante