An F-35A Lightning II fighter belonging to the United States Air Force crashed near Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The pilot successfully ejected.
The incident was reported by the 388th Fighter Wing (388FW), which is stationed at the air base, on October 19, 2022.
“At approximately 6:15 p.m. an F-35 A Lightning II crashed at the north end of Hill Air Force Base runway,” the wing said in a tweet. “On and off base emergency crews responded immediately.”
The exact squadron to which the damaged aircraft belongs was not specified. The 388FW was the first wing with an operational F-35A squadron, the 34th Fighter Squadron.
The Lockheed Martin F-35A was returning from a routine training mission, according to Colonel Craig Andrle, commander of the 388FW.
“All of us as pilots take every opportunity we have to mitigate the damage to anything on the ground, so I do know that the pilot made his best effort to avoid any buildings or anything on the ground prior to ejection,” Andrle said, as quoted by CNN.
The extent of the damage and whether the aircraft was written off has not yet been communicated.
It is the seventh crash of an F-35 since the fifth-generation fighter entered service in 2015. The last one took place on January 25, 2022, when a US Navy F-35C crashed onto the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson before sliding into the South China Sea.