Pilot's Ejection Caught on Camera After Fighter Jet Crash

Pilot is OK after slow-moving accident at Texas military base
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2022 1:52 PM CST
Pilot OK After 'Bizarre' Fighter Jet Crash
Screenshot from video of the moment of impact.   (YouTube/ABC13)

The pilot of a fighter jet that crash-landed in Texas will be fine after ejecting from the plane after it hit the ground. The Washington Post describes the "bizarre slow-moving crash" that took place Thursday morning at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, where a spectator captured the entire accident on his cellphone. In that video shown by the Post, the F-35B aircraft made by Lockheed Martin can be seen hovering over the naval base's runway before "attempting a vertical landing, like a helicopter would," per CBS News.

At first it looks like the landing might be a smooth one, with the jet touching down on the runway—until it briefly bounces back up, then does a nosedive into the asphalt, spinning around and creating a burst of smoke. "Oh, he just crashed!" the man filming the plane can be heard exclaiming, followed by an expletive. But that wasn't the end of things: A few seconds later, the pilot is forcefully ejected from the aircraft, parachuting to the ground less than 10 seconds later.

The pilot, who Lockheed Martin said in a statement "ejected successfully," apparently wasn't badly injured, per CBS. That fact was confirmed by the White Settlement Police Department, which said they received a call for help around 10:15am local time. "Thankful that we received word that the pilot will be okay," the department wrote online Thursday evening. The pilot was IDed by a Pentagon spokesperson as a "US government pilot," though the Post notes it's not clear if the pilot is military or civilian. The paper adds that officials still don't know what caused the crash. "Safety is our priority, and we will follow appropriate investigation protocol," Lockheed Martin said in its statement. (More plane crash stories.)

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