US Air Force F-16 Crashes During Landing at New Mexico Base, Pilot Injured

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
July 14, 2020Updated: July 14, 2020

An F-16C Viper crashed during a landing at Holloman Air Force Base, leaving at least one pilot injured, officials confirmed on Monday night.

The Air Force’s 49th Wing wrote that the Viper, which belongs to the 49th Wing, “crashed during landing” at the New Mexico base at around 6 p.m. local time.

“The sole pilot on board successfully ejected and is currently being treated for minor injuries,” it said.

The Air Force said (pdf) that emergency response teams are on scene, and an investigation conducted by a board of qualified officers is ongoing to determine the cause of the incident.

Other details about the crash were not immediately available.

On July 1, an Air Force pilot was killed during an F-16 crash in South Carolina. Days before that, an Air Force F-15C Eagle crashed into the North Sea near northern England during a training exercise, which also killed the pilot.

David Schmitz was identified as the pilot who crashed in South Carolina by Air Force officials. “Dave loved a lot of things. He loved his family, he loved his country, and he loved to fly,” 20th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Larry Sullivan said via Facebook Live.

In England, officials said that the “pilot of the downed F-15C Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing has been located, and confirmed deceased.”

“This is a tragic loss for the 48th Fighter Wing community, and our deepest condolences go out to the pilot’s family and the 493rd Fighter Squadron.”

The aircraft was from RAF Lakenheath, the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England and the only U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) F-15 fighter wing. It is located about 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Cambridge. In 2014, a U.S. military helicopter crashed on the coast of eastern England, killing all four crew on board.

In May, a fifth-generation F-22 Raptor crashed at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base. After that, an F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter crashed at the same base. Both took place during training flights and both pilots ejected successfully.

Officials previously stated that separate investigations have been launched into both incidents.

Last October, an F-16 crashed at Holloman Air Force Base in a night training exercise. The pilot survived.

Reuters contributed to this report.