An Air Force F-16 fighter jet with a connection to Fresno crashed into a building near March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, on Thursday afternoon, authorities said. The pilot ejected and was expected to be OK.
The jet crashed into a building off base on Opportunity Way in Riverside County, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, at about 3:45 p.m., base officials told NBC News. The pilot parachuted onto the base, they said.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office said multiple agencies were responding to the scene of an air emergency in an industrial area of warehouses and large businesses near Interstate 215. It had no further immediate details but said the freeway had been closed in both directions.
Aerial video of the scene showed a broad hole in the roof of a large warehouse-like building the logo of See Water, which manufactures pumps, controls and other equipment for the water and wastewater industries. Authorities were examining a white and orange parachute along the roadside.
NBC Los Angeles reported that a hazardous materials team was on site to assess the potential threat from any ordnance that may have been on the jet.
The jet was a detachment of the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, stationed at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, the 144th Fighter Wing Public Affairs said in a statement, calling it a “mishap.”
The pilot was conducting a training mission under the direction of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
The fighter wing said in a statement:
Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) is the teeth of the NORAD’s layered defense system designed to detect, identify, and engage threats to the homeland. The ACA mission comprises many capabilities and platforms: Air Force fighter, air refueling, and early warning aircraft have scrambled over 64,000 total alert sorties since 9/11. More than 65 percent of these sorties were flown by the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve. Together, USAF Total Force fighter wings man 24/7 alert at 16 sites across the continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Each of these wings trains primarily for combat roles and performs ACA as an additional mission from its home station.