A Navy F/A-18E fighter jet crashed in California on Tuesday, but the pilot was able to eject safely, according to a Navy spokesman. “An F/A-18E Super Hornet from Naval Air Station Lemoore experienced a mishap at approximately 10:10 a.m. today during a routine training flight near Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake,” Cmdr. Zachary Harrell, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces, said Tuesday.
Lemoore is an inland airbase located in California’s Central Valley. “The pilot ejected safely and was taken to a local medical facility for examination,” said Harrell. Harrell told ABC News that the pilot was in good and stable condition.
Harrell said the plane crashed in an open field and that local authorities were notified of the crash at 10:20 a.m. P.T.Officials with the Kern County Fire Department confirmed that an aircraft went down shortly before noon near Highway 14 and Highway 178 in Ridgecrest. The crash sparked a brush fire that has since been extinguished, said Andrew Freeborn, Kern County Fire Department spokesman.
Lt. Joel Swanson, the spokesman for the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, told the Bakersfield Californian that deputies and the Kern County Fire Department responded to the scene.
The California Highway Patrol was directing traffic in the area, and drivers can expect the highways to be affected for “at least some time,” Freeborn said shortly after the crash.
Freeborn said the Navy and local law enforcement agencies will be working with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Authority as they investigate the crash.