A fighter jet from the Luke Air Force Base crashed into an empty field near a retirement community in Buckeye, Arizona on Thursday. The Mirage F1 jet was being used as part of a training mission according to the Air Force representative. The pilot luckily ejected from the jet while 15 miles away from the installation, and is safe.
The retirement community called the Sun City Festival neighborhood was also safe from the crash. Media and news agencies reported the incident around 11 a.m. when the aircraft crashed west of Phoenix, Arizona. The director of foreign military sales for Airborne Tactical Advantage Co. John Rupp confirmed the pilot’s safety and that the aircraft was from his company. “The pilot is safe and doing well,” said Rupp, assuring the press that the pilot from the Luke Air Force Base was taken to get medical assistance for minor injuries.
A local land surveyor Andy Timmerman told Military.com he saw, “fireball and a dust cloud” when the plane was descending towards the ground. He pulled up to the location after the incident, Timmerman says he saw the pilot who ejected minutes before the crash was majorly okay before offering his water.
“We were worried about the pilot. The plane wasn’t making any noise before it crashed, and then I saw the parachute. I’m just relieved he was OK,” Timmerman told the press.
The 56th Fighter Wing commander, Brig. Gen. Gregory Kreuder also said in a statement that he, “is grateful nobody was hurt on the ground and the pilot was safely recovered with only minor injuries.” The F1 fighter jet that went down is typically used to practice mimicking opposition aircrafts in exercises, and was part of a regular mission at the Luke Air Force Base. investigation is being carried out behind the reason of the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration in the city reports all flights surrounding the area are being diverted from the location of the crash for the 24 hours since the incident. F-35 Lightning II and F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots use the Luke Air Force Base as a major training base as it is home to the 56th Fighter Wing.