The pilot of an F-35A Lightning II survived when the stealth fighter crashed Wednesday evening at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, according to local TV news reports.
Emergency responders from the base and surrounding community responded immediately when the fifth-generation fighter went down at the runway’s north end at 6:15 p.m., according to a tweet by the 388th Fighter Wing.
The unidentified pilot ejected before the crash, according to a later tweet from the wing. The pilot was recovered and sent to a medical facility for observation, the wing said.
A crash investigation is underway; the 75th Air Base Wing at Hill asked anyone who saw the incident or found anything related to it to call 801-777-3056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Base officials said they were still working to determine the cause of the crash but credited the pilot for steering the plane away from populated areas,” KUTV of Salt Lake City reported.
State fire crews responded to a small fire caused by the crash on Defense Department property near the base, according to the KUTV report.
Hill Air Force Base is south of Ogden, Utah, and west of the Great Salt Lake. Two fighter wings, the 419th and 388th, fly a fleet of 78 aircraft there, according to Hill’s website.
A replacement F-35A costs about $75 million to produce, down from the $221 million it cost to build the first to come off the assembly line in 2007, according to a Reuters report in July.