Sunday, Oct. 20 (UPI) — The military says that the pilot of an F-35 fighter jet had to jump out of the plane minutes before it crashed on a runway at Hill Air Force Base in Utah on Wednesday night.
The 388th Fighter Wing’s official Twitter account said that the unnamed pilot was expected to live after his Lightning II plane went down during a regular training flight.
The pilot was quickly taken to a nearby hospital by emergency workers, but doctors haven’t said anything yet about how bad his injuries are.
Authorities also didn’t know what caused the crash right away.
Residents of a nearby neighborhood took pictures and videos of the crash site. They showed a long trail of thick smoke rising past a slope on the north side of the base, where officials said burning debris set fire to a field.
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Earlier, a teenager riding his bike in the neighborhood saw the swerving plane and saw the pilot jump out of the plane over a nearby property.
Another witness who was the first person to reach the hurt pilot said that he didn’t look too bad.
Officials in the military were glad that the pilot was able to keep the plane from hitting any homes or people on the ground.
Col. Craig Andrle, who was quoted by KSL News 5 in Salt Lake City, said, “I do know that the pilot did everything he could to avoid buildings or anything else on the ground before ejecting,” which is why no one was hurt.
It took nearly an hour to put out the fire at the base.