Military F-16 Fighter Jet Crashes in Southern California, No Deaths

May 16, 2019 Updated: May 16, 2019

A military F-16 fighter jet has crashed into a commercial building at the end of a runway at March Air Reserve Base in Southern California on Thursday, May 16.

The crash took place about 3:30 p.m. local time at the air base in Moreno Valley, Riverside County, U.S. Air Force Maj. Perry Covington said, according to KTLA.

The pilot was trying to land at the base, an Air Force official told Fox News.

Riverside fire officials said that three people were transported with minor injuries but that no major injuries have been reported, according to ABC7.

The pilot, the only occupant on the plane, was able to eject before the crash, and was being checked by medical personnel, according to the Riverside County Sheriff in a Twitter post.

Officials said the pilot was hospitalized in stable condition and not seriously injured.

A small fire sparked by the crash was put out quickly, March Air Reserve Base Deputy Fire Chief Tim Holliday told KTLA.

One official told Fox News that the F-16 was armed. It was one of the alert jets for the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Live video from a news helicopter showed that the plane appeared to have crashed upon landing. According to the pilot of the helicopter, the building is used by See Water Inc.

The jet’s canopy can be seen on the runway. The ejector seat and parachute were shown lying on the grass.

Melissa Melendez, the assemblywoman for the district, posted a Tweet saying all workers in the warehouse have been accounted for.

“An F-16 crashed into a commercial building on Opportunity Way on March ARB in Riverside this afternoon. Pilot alive, all warehouses workers accounted for. Waiting for update on fire,” she wrote.

Footage of the crash emerged online, showing a large hole in the building.

One photo shows part of the fighter jet sticking out of the rubble. A witness, Jeff Schoffstall, said he was working when he heard the plane come dangerously low to the ground before it made a loud noise, ABC7 reported.

Schoffstall posted video of the scene.

“It was almost to the point where I had to cover my ears, and next thing you know I just hear this explosion,” Daniel Gallegos, another witness, told the news station.

“I turn around to the back of the building and I just seen a burst of flames and just the ceiling start falling through every part of the building. In a matter of seconds, my ankles were filled with water.”

California Highway Patrol officials shut down both directions of the 215 Freeway between Harley Knox Boulevard and Cactus Avenue, and told people to stay away from the area.

Holliday told KTLA that the F-16 belonged to the 144th Fighter Wing, an Air National Guard unit based in Fresno, but was permanently stationed at March Air Reserve Base.

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


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