Valley News -

Fighter jet crashes after takeoff from March Air Reserve Base

 

Last updated 5/17/2019 at 8:31am



MORENO VALLEY - An F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed into a warehouse just west of March Air Reserve Base in Moreno Valley on Thursday, May 16 while departing the airfield, leaving a dozen people injured on the ground.

The pilot, who was on a training mission for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, walked away after parachuting onto the end of Runway 32 and was taken to a hospital for examination, according to the U.S. Air Force Reserve and reports from the scene.

Twelve people were treated at the scene and taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

The F-16, attached to the 114th Fighter Wing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, went down about 3:45 p.m. and crashed into the See Water Inc. warehouse at 22220 Opportunity Way, near Meridian Parkway, in the Arnold Heights neighborhood just off of Interstate 215, authorities said.

A county fire battalion chief said the F-16 was carrying ordnance, prompting a hazardous materials response. The entire neighborhood was cordoned off, and occupants of surrounding buildings were ordered to shelter in place.

The California Highway Patrol shut down both sides of Interstate 215 for public safety, in case of explosions.

In Riverside, Meridian Parkway between Alessandro and Van Buren Boulevards and Van Buren Boulevard between Village West Drive and Interstate 215 were closed while the investigation and wreckage recovery continued, the Riverside Police Department said tonight. The Metrolink tracks paralleling the freeway were also closed.

The F-16 punched a huge hole in the roof of the 500,000-square-foot building, causing a fire that triggered the on-site sprinkler system, which contained the flames, according to fire officials.

The structure is stacked with plastic pipes, aluminum awnings and other materials, according to the CHP, which received the 911 calls.

March is home to the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, an Air Force Reserve component that utilizes mammoth C-17 transports, KC-135 refueling tankers and C-130 transports.

Fighter jets are a rare sight at the base.

The last tactical jet crash at March occurred in 1989, when it was still an active-duty Air Force installation. That accident involved a fatality, according to published reports.

 

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