An F-35 fighter jet crashed Wednesday near a runway at the Hill Air Force Base, Utah, military officials said. The pilot was ejected and was taken to a “local medical center” for observation, the 388th Fighter Wing said. The cause of the crash was under investigation.
The crash occurred around 6:15 p.m. local time at Hill Air Force Base north of Salt Lake City.
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Utah governor Spencer J. Cox said that his team is in communication with authorities and he is praying for the safety of the pilot.
“We have been in communication with leadership @HAFB. We’re praying for the safety of the pilot and first responders and will continue to monitor the situation,” Cox tweeted.
The 388th fighter wing reported the incident, saying emergency responders were at the scene. The cause of the crash was unknown, they added.
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“Please respect emergency responders and avoid the area of South Weber Drive,” the 388th fighter wing tweeted.
Videos and pictures from the scene showed a large plume of smoke coming from the Air Force base.
“Got home late and could still see and smell the aftermath of the F35 crash from earlier this evening. So very glad the pilot ejected,” a Twitter user wrote.
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“I was at my home …. mowing the lawn and watching the F-35 come in for landing as they do basically every night. We love watching them leave and come home,” nearby resident Scott Phillips told CNN.
“They land generally towards the south as they did today. On approach, one appeared to lose power and dipped too low below the trees. Next thing I saw was fire.”