A Marine Corps Lockheed Martin F-35B stealth fighter crashed in Imperial County, California, at around 4 p.m. PT Tuesday while attempting an aerial refueling mission with a Lockheed Martin KC-130J refueling tanker, according to USNI News.
On Tuesday afternoon, “it was reported that an F-35B made contact with a KC-130J during an air-to-air refueling evolution, resulting in the crash of the F-35B. The pilot of the F-35B ejected successfully and is currently being treated,” read a statement from Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Joseph Butterfield to USNI News.
“The KC-130J is on deck in the vicinity of Thermal Airport. All crew members of the KC-130J have been reported safe,” Butterfield said.
KC-130J Emergency Landing In Field
Local TV station KESQ News Channel 3’s Jake Ingrassia was near the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport in Therma, California, at the time of the incident, capturing photos and videos of the accident scenes.
Ingrassia tweeted a video of the F-35B crash site, interviewing an eyewitness who said the incident felt like a “three or four earthquake.”
UPDATE: Military officials confirm a fighter crashed near Salton City during air-to-air refueling, causing another military aircraft to make an emergency landing in Thermal. @JakeKESQ will have the latest tonight at 10 and 11 p.m.
— KESQ News Channel 3 (@KESQ) September 30, 2020
KESQ released a video with Ingrassia describing the crash and showing video and images of both crash sites.
“The official cause of the crash is currently under investigation,” a military spokesperson told FOX News. “Updates will be provided as information becomes available.”
Over the years, the F-35 has been involved in a series of crashes; the latest was in May when an F-35A crashed in Florida during a training mission.