According to an Arizona Air National Guard statement, the pilot flying with the 162nd Wing Arizona Air National Guard was the only person on board during the night training mission. The pilot’s identity and condition was not known early Thursday.
Angel Ortega, of Douglas, said he heard a loud explosion and initially thought it was thunder before he saw the smoke.
Cochise County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Carol Capas tells the Arizona Daily Star (http://bit.ly/1GJtFCv) that the plane ruptured a gas line and sparked a fire, which “is almost out.” Once the flames are extinguished, officials will be able to assess the damage.
Capas tells The Associated Press that the crash started a grass fire that covered about 400 yards.
A board will be appointed to investigate the incident.