An F-16 fighter jet being flown in routine training exercises has crashed into a commercial building at March Air Reserve Base in Southern California.
A base spokesman said the pilot managed to safely eject and no injuries were reported after it crashed through the roof of the building, a base spokesman said.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the crash ignited a small fire, quoting a base fire official, and a photo of the accident scene posted on local television station KCAL-TV showed a gaping hole in the roof of a large grey building.
The warplane went down about 8.30am on Friday AEST and slammed into a warehouse at the end of the base runway, base spokesman Major Perry Covington told Reuters.
“The pilot did eject and the pilot is OK, and there are no other injuries at this time,” he said, adding he did not believe anyone was inside the warehouse when the crash occurred.
Here’s the scene where an F-16 fighter jet crashed into a building near March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County. The 215 Fwy is shut down in both directions. Details: https://t.co/pIyQXcCorG pic.twitter.com/1uBVypn61a
— KTLA (@KTLA) May 16, 2019
The sprawling installation, located in Riverside County, California, about 105 km east of Los Angeles, is home to the Air Force Reserve 452nd Air Mobility Wing.
There are normally between 2000 and 6000 Air Force reservists and other personnel on base at any given time.
Local media broadcast vision filmed by a worker inside the warehouse, showing debris scattered across the floor, water pouring through the roof and what appeared to be a part of the military aircraft’s rear end.
“Holy [expletive] dude. That’s a [expletive] airplane; that’s a military airplane in our building,” he said.
Our @PhilBFox5 showing video from inside building near March Reserve Base in Riverside County shot by a worker moments after F-16 jet crashed through the ceiling…. @fox5sandiego pic.twitter.com/ihVYuhQIXg
— Kathleen Bade (@KathleenFOX5) May 17, 2019
A section of Interstate 215, a major north-south route running through the base, was closed in both directions after the crash.
The aircraft was carrying live ordnance at the time of the crash, prompting flight restrictions over the area.
It is not yet known what caused the pilot to eject.
UPDATE: A battalion chief fears an F-16 that crashed at a Riverside air base was loaded with ordnance, prompting a hazardous materials response and a temporary flight restriction in the area. https://t.co/CpNKM9hjlW
— #NBC7 San Diego (@nbcsandiego) May 16, 2019