A fully armed F-16 fighter plane has crashed at March Air Reserve Base outside Riverside, California, damaging a nearby warehouse. The pilot ejected safely.
Firefighters in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, have requested a hazardous material response team, because the plane was loaded with ordnance and external fuel tanks.
A piece of the plane’s canopy and a parachute were seen on the nearby runway after the pilot ejected and survived the crash. No injuries were reported on the ground.
Although footage from the scene clearly showed a large hole in the roof of a warehouse and debris resembling a jet inside, March ARB spokesman Major Perry Covington initially said that the plane crashed at the end of the runway while landing, and did not hit any buildings.
The crash, which happened around 3:45 pm local time, started a fire that March ARB Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Holliday described as “not very big”.
Both northbound and southbound lanes of the nearby Interstate 215 have been blocked off by police out of an abundance of caution.
The F-16 belongs to the 144th Fighter Wing, a California Air National Guard unit based in Fresno.