An F-16 fighter jet from Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix crashed Thursday in a remote area of northwestern Arizona. There was no immediate word on pilot's condition and a search and rescue operation was underway, officials said. The crash occurred at about 8:45am in rugged terrain near Bagdad in Yavapai County, Luke officials said. The area is sparsely populated. Base officials said the jet was assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke. Luke is a major pilot-training base for the Air Force and foreign military services. Cause of the crash wasn't known, and the wing's commander established an interim safety board to conduct a preliminary investigation, Luke officials said.
Bagdad is about 85 miles northwest of the base located in suburban Glendale. Several civilian agencies sent aircraft and personnel in response to word of the crash. The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office sent a helicopter to look for the crash site, while the Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr sent troopers, a rescue helicopter, and explosive ordinance and hazardous material teams, spokesmen said. (Read more fighter jet stories.)