It’s unclear why a stealth combat jet crashed Wednesday evening at Hill Air Force Base, officials said Thursday morning.
The pilot, whose name has not been released, was returning from a training mission at the time of the wreck, according to the 388th Fighter Wing, an Air Force unit stationed at the base.
He was able to eject from the single-seat, single-engine aircraft before it crashed at the north end of a runway at about 6:15 p.m., resulting in minor injures to the pilot. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and released Wednesday night, according to the 388th Fighter Wing.
Though the cause of the wreck remains unknown, a board of officers are investigating, officials said.
“Right now, we’re very thankful there were no serious injuries,” Col. Craig Andrle, commander of the 388th Fighter Wing, said in a statement. “Our pilot is safe, everyone on the ground is safe and it doesn’t look like there was any other serious damage.”
The crash of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II ignited a blaze that burned about 8-10 acres before it was extinguished. No structures were damaged or destroyed, and there were no additional injuries, according to the Air Force.
The wreck marked the first time an F-35A Lightning II has crashed at the base, according to the 388th Fighter Wing. The last crash at Hill was in 2009 and involved an F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Because of Wednesday’s crash, five F-35s from the 388th Fighter Wing were diverted to Salt Lake City International Airport and will return to Hill Air Force Base “soon,” the Air Force said Thursday morning.
Other planned flights at the base were canceled Thursday, and a decision on when flights will resume is pending.
“We take flying safety very seriously,” Andrle said in a statement. “Our maintainers and pilots do a great job. It’s in the forefront of our minds. I’m confident in the ability of our airmen and this wing to carry out our mission as we complete all of our required incident response items and move forward.”
Breaking News???? Fire at Hill AFB— Chappy 🇧🇷 (@itschappy) October 20, 2022
Coming home from Riverdale and we saw three fighter jets in a line circling to land… kept driving through South Ogden and then a minute or two later saw a giant plume of smoke come up. Followed it here to the Adams Ave parkway entrance. pic.twitter.com/OGZcGVyXr9
Anyone in the area of the wreck who found anything that may be related to the crash is asked to call 801-777-0911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, phone number and details about what you found. A member of the Air Force will return your call.
According to a news release from the Hill Air Force Base, “providing your information is voluntary and will not be disclosed outside of official channels.”
The crash remains under investigation.