According to the interceptor, a radio interceptor monitoring an exercise in the area stated the following:
"I was listening to airmobile exercise MOBILITY GUARDIAN. About 20 minutes ago, two aircraft had a mid-air collision. VIPER 12 reported that he had a collision with his flight lead and was departing to the west. VIPER 11 referenced as the "unlucky jet" and HERK 12 took to the scene to take command for the "downed jet" situation. OILER 72 (a KC-10) took control shortly after so HERK 12 could depart. Those aircraft are visible on ADSB. Crash coordinates listed as Bullseye 190 @ 186, so if bullseye is Duluth, that would put the crash in the VOLK WEST MOA."
Further audio acquired by the media outlet saw Viper 12 stating he had a midair collision with his flight lead and thought the other pilot had to eject. He confirmed that his jet was "pretty messed up" and had to proceed to an emergency landing.
Meanwhile, The War Zone also provided audio from Viper 12 after the incident:
The aerial view of the site of the supposed collision looked as follows:
Nothing to worry about
However, The War Zone later acquired a statement from Major Mark Graff, the public affairs spokesperson for exercise Mobility Guardian. Graff confirmed that there was no crash or collision and that the radio communications intercepted were from a hyper-realistic exercise where the collision of two fighter aircraft was simulated.
The exercise also simulated the ensuing response, including the tankers and transports reacting to the incident. The confusion arose from the fact that there was no declaration of an exercise made.
Luckily, it turns out there was no cause for concern in this case. However, military exercises can sometimes take a turn for the worst as was the case with last month's Indonesian submarine incident. Last April, a submarine conducting a military exercise drowned taking the lives of 53 people.
Of course, this is an exception as most military exercises are well-planned and executed, particularly those involving fighter jets. Still, accidents do happen as is illustrated by this exhaustive list of incidents involving military aircraft from 2010 to 2019. In many of the cases, the pilots lose their lives.
It should also be noted that ejecting a jet should be avoided at all costs even if it can save a pilot's life. The process of ejecting puts pilots at serious risk of injury such as seriously bruising both shoulders and possibly breaking collarbones. In addition, any knees or elbows sticking out can hit the side of the cockpit and be instantly amputated. Scary!