US Air Force F-16 crashes in New Mexico

The sole pilot was "successfully ejected" from the plane and taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

On Tuesday, an F-16 fighter jet crash-landed near White Sands National Park west of Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The sole pilot was "successfully ejected" from the plane and taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

In a press release, the Holloman Air Force Base explained that an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 49th Wing had been involved in a "mishap" at around 11:50 am.

"An investigation conducted by a board of qualified officers is underway to determine the cause of the incident," officials added, noting that, "additional details will be released as they become available."

They urged "all non-personnel" to "avoid the area to prevent possible exposure to hazardous chemicals onboard the aircraft."

In a statement, White Sands National Park informed potential visitors that everything beyond mile marker 3 was "closed to the public for emergency response to an active incident."

No further information was provided regarding when things might get back up and running.

Holloman is home to the 54th Fighter Group, which includes the 311th Fighter Squadron, 314th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Squadron, 54th Training Squadron, and 54th Operations Support Squadron.

According to its website, the group "consists of approximately 800 personnel, maintains $2.2 billion in F-16 assets, and executes a $144 million operations and maintenance budget to carry out F-16 training."

The base "provides an extensive flying hour program that trains an average of 180 students per year, averaging more than 10,800 sorties and 14,600 hours per fiscal year."

As the Air Force Times reported, the crash is the fourth time in the past year involving an American-owned F-16. The other three occurred in South Korea. An average of three such planes, each of which is worth millions of dollars, have been in accidents every year for the past decade.

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