Saturday 17 August 2019

F-16 fighter jet crashes into warehouse in California

The pilot ejected before the crash, officials said.

The F-16 fighter jet crashed into a warehouse (KABC-TV/AP)
The F-16 fighter jet crashed into a warehouse (KABC-TV/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

A pilot ejected moments before an F-16 fighter jet crashed into a warehouse just outside an air base in California, military officials said.

The pilot was not hurt, and there were no immediate reports of injuries on the ground, said Major Perry Covington, March Air Reserve Base’s director of public affairs.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

Television news showed a large hole in the roof and sprinklers on inside the building about 65 miles east of Los Angeles.

Daniel Gallegos, a warehouse worker, said he is used to hearing the sound of planes coming and going, but the noise just before the crash was deafening.

“Next thing I know I just hear this explosion and turn around to the back of the building, and I just seen a burst of flames and just the ceiling started falling through every part of the building,” he told KABC-TV.

“I turned around, and my co-worker just told me to get, so I just made a run for it.”

Mr Gallegos said he believed one of his co-workers was struck by something — possibly a falling fire sprinkler — but was not seriously hurt.

The crash happened as the pilot was landing following a routine training mission, March Air Reserve Base deputy fire chief Timothy Holliday said.

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The parachute left by the pilot who ejected before his F-16 fighter jet crashed into a warehouse (KABC-TV via AP)

“The pilot was having hydraulic problems,” Mr Holliday said. “He started losing control of the aircraft.”

The jet’s cockpit canopy was on a runway, and a parachute had settled in a nearby field.

Damage to the warehouse was relatively minor, and there was no major fire, which Mr Holliday called “a miracle”.

The pilot, the only person on board, was taken to a hospital for examination, officials said.

The F-16, assigned to the Air National Guard, was carrying standard armaments, Mr Holliday said.

It will be recovered once authorities make sure the weapons do not pose a risk, he said.

The base is home to the Air Force Reserve Command’s Fourth Air Force Headquarters and various units of the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, California Air National Guard and California Army National Guard.

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