A pilot escaped without serious injury after an F-35 fighter jet crashed at an Air Force base in Utah Wednesday evening. The crash also sparked a small brush fire.
The crash occurred at about 6:15 p.m. local time at Hill Air Force Base, Col. Craig Andrle, commander of the 388th Fighter Wing, said in a Wednesday night news briefing.
It took place on the north end of a runway, Andrle disclosed, as the pilot was returning from a routine training mission. The pilot safely ejected the jet and was taken to a hospital for observation.
“Tonight, first and foremost, we’re thankful that he’s OK, he got out of the aircraft,” Andrle said.
No one on the ground was hurt, Andrle said. The exact cause of the crash is unknown.
According to the Utah state fire officials, the crash sparked an 8- to 10-acre brush fire on Defense Department land. Multiple fire agencies responded and were able to extinguish the blaze, state fire officials tweeted. Andrle said it took about an hour for crews to knock down the fire.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox had tweeted that his office was “in communication” with the Air Force base and was “praying for the safety of the pilot and first responders and will continue to monitor the situation.”
Hill Air Force Base is located about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City.