An Iowa man who’s a Navy jet pilot in the current military conflict escaped serious injury when his plane slipped off an aircraft carrier and fell into the Persian Gulf. Lieutenant Ben Folkers of Mason City and his co-pilot had landed on the flight deck of the U-S-S Constellation when their plane malfunctioned and slipped off the side. The two ejected into the sea and were rescued by helicopter. His father, attorney Chip Folkers of Mason City, says the military was quick to inform him. He got a call shortly after it happened, from a Navy representative in San Diego who wanted to tell him about it before Folkers saw the story on the news, and a while later his commanding officer called the pilot’s father to say he’d escaped with only burns caused apparently by the other ejection seat in the plane. It wasn’t long after the incident that Folkers heard from his son.Couple hours afgter that, Folkers called his father and at the time was on painkillers but in high spirits. Folkers says the family’s glad the situation turned out as well as it did. Folkers says his son was flying an s-3-b-Viking, a multi-purpose plane used for anti-submarine patrolling and things like high-tech electronic warfare. His family’s been hearing from the pilot that they’ve been working very hard, probably stretching personnel and equipment to the limit. Folkers says he’s known his son was in good hands since the conflict started in Iraq. Folkers says any parent of a soldier or sailor’s anxious about the situation, and they might feel more secure about having someone on a fighting ship. The Viking aircraft sank in 200 feet of water and officials say it will probably not be recovered.
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