AN F-16 fighter jet pilot ejected just seconds before the warplane smashed through the roof of a warehouse in California yesterday.
The terrifying crash happened during routine training exercises just outside March Air Reserve Base California — five people on the ground were reported injured, military officials said.
A huge hole was blown through the ceiling of a warehouse when an F-16 fighter jet crashed into it in southern California[/caption]
It’s not yet clear how seriously injuries are but the pilot was reportedly “transported to a local hospital for evaluation,” officials with the United States Air Force Reserve said.
The cause of the crash is currently being investigated.
Warehouse worker Daniel Gallegos, said the noise before the crash was deafening, told KABC-TV: “Next thing I know I just hear this explosion and turn around to the back of the building, and I just see a burst of flames and just the ceiling started falling through every part of the building.
“I turned around, and my co-worker just told me to get, so I just made a run for it.”
Gallegos added that he thought one of his colleagues was hit by something falling from the ceiling, but was thankfully not seriously injured.
Videos shared online appear to show the downed jet tangled up in twisted metal on the warehouse floor below a gaping hole in the ceiling.
In one, a man can be heard breathlessly saying: “Holy f*****g s**t dude — that’s a f*****g aeroplane!
“That’s a military aeroplane in our building!”
TRAINING MISSION GONE WRONG
The fighter jet was assigned to the 114th Fighter Wing, Souix Falls, South Dakota and was conducting a training mission for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), officials said.
The Los Angeles Times, citing a base fire official, reported that the crash ignited a small fire.
It’s believed the warplane went down at about 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time and slammed into a warehouse at the end of the base runway, base spokesman Major Perry Covington said.
He added: “The pilot did eject and the pilot is OK,” adding he did not believe anyone was inside the warehouse when the crash occurred.
The crash happened as the pilot was landing following a routine training mission, March Air Reserve Base Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Holliday said.
“The pilot was having hydraulic problems,” 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 Holliday called “a miracle.”
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The F-16, assigned to the Air National Guard, was carrying standard armaments, Holliday said.
It will be recovered once authorities make sure the weapons don’t 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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