Shocking images and videos on social media show an American stealth fighter jet crashing on the north end of the runway at Hill Air Force Base (AFB) in northern Utah.
The 388th Fighter Wing confirmed an F-35 A Lightning II crashed at 1815 local time Wednesday while on a routine training mission. 388th Fighter Wing Commander, Col. Craig R. Andrle, said the pilot safely ejected.
"First and foremost, we're thankful that he's okay [and] that he got out of the aircraft. "We're thankful that nobody on the ground was injured and we'll start the process of figuring out what happened from here," Andrle said.
An F-35 from the 388th crashed at the north end of the runway @HAFB . Pilot ejected. Emergency crews are responding.— 388th Fighter Wing (@388fw) October 20, 2022
A tweet from Utah Fire Info said a 10-acre fire broke out around the crash site while Haz-Mat crews suppressed the blaze.
New Start: #TheStripFire is 8-10 acres. Cause was a downed Military Aircraft. No injuries reported. Fire was on DOD land. Fire suppression by Weber Co. resources and Forestry, Fire and State Lands (FFSL) Fire has been suppressed but continues with Haz-Mat and other needs. #ffslkw pic.twitter.com/3ONcMbyUbV— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) October 20, 2022
Nearby resident Scott Phillips told CNN he saw the stealth fighter plummet out of the sky:
"I was at my home …. mowing the lawn and watching the F-35 come in for landing as they do basically every night. We love watching them leave and come home.
"They land generally towards the south as they did today. On approach, one appeared to lose power and dipped too low below the trees. Next thing I saw was fire."
Multiple security cameras from a nearby residential community appear to have captured the moment of the crash.
Footage of the F-35 crash in salt lake. Sometimes even one of the most expensive planes in the world can just drop out of the sky. pic.twitter.com/XMEm2D6hbL— ayden (@squatsons) October 20, 2022
Breaking: F-35 crash at @HAFB .. look at the top of the screen.. door cam capturing huge explosion! We have a team of reporters on the crash. Told pilot did eject and was taken to medical facility. Don’t know condition. @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/prL9vcg356— Dan Rascon (@TVDanRascon) October 20, 2022
Someone snapped images of the F-35 mangled in pieces on the ground.
The cause of the crash has yet to be officially announced, though we did hear from one person who witnessed it. Perhaps engine failure is the culprit. At least the ejection seat worked.