F-16 fighter crashes into warehouse roof in California

U.S. Air National Guard

An F-16 fighter of the United States National Guard crashed into a building near an air base in southern California on May 16, 2019. The pilot managed to eject safely.

The fighter jet assigned to the 114th Fighter Wing was returning from a training flight for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) with a single pilot on board.  It was about to land at March Air Reserve Base near Perris, California, when it crashed into a civilian warehouse at the end of the runway. The pilot managed to eject safely and landed back inside the base using its parachute. A small fire inside the building was rapidly contained.

Twelve people, including the pilot, were taken to the hospital for treatment, none of them suffered life-threatening injuries, according to a Cal Fire official, quoted by the The Los Angeles Times. A spokesperson of the March Air Reserve Base told AeroTime that only five injuries on the ground were reported. A perimeter was established while the live ordnance the plane was carrying was being handled.

Reggie Varner, a spokesperson of the air base, said a hydraulic failure in the aircraft is suspected to have led to the crash. An investigation into the cause of the incident is underway.

The NORAD is a bi-national organization in charge of defending the airspaces of the United States of America and Canada. It is in charge of the Operation Noble Eagle which has been established in the wake of September 11, 2001, and has conducted about 1,900 interceptions since then.

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