F-16 fighter jet crashes near Luke AFB; pilots OK
Glendale police have confirmed that a F-16 fighter jet crashed in a desert area near Litchfield Road and Northern, not far from Luke Air Force base.
Authorities say two pilots ejected safely from the jet just before 7 p.m. They were transported to an area hospital with minor injuries and remain in stable condition. Their names have not been released.
The aircraft was a total loss and there's no immediate word on what caused the crash.
It's unknown if the pilots took off from Luke AFB or were on approach to land there.
"First responders found the pilots walking in this agricultural field on a dirt road behind me. They were taken by ambulance to Luke Air Force Base Hospital for evaluation," said Collin Williams of the Rural Metro Fire Department.
No injuries were reported on the ground.
F-16s are usually single-pilot planes, but in this situation, it was a trainer and that's why two pilots were on board.
Tim Hall, who sent pictures of the scene to FOX 10 over social media, talked to Jill Monier about what happened. He lives across the street from the crash scene.
"We were watching TV and we heard pop.. pop.. pop.. that's not good.. stepped outside and saw the jet flying and saw the backfire behind the engine shooting out and all of a sudden, you hear a big boom.. and a big cloud of smoke... it was like what just happened? That's not right. So we went on over to see what happened.. pilots were already on the ground.. safe."
Hall adds that one of the pilots had a bloody face, but said it was from his helmet. He also saw debris scattered in the area.
David Heppler also witnessed the crash, thinking the plane would go down in a residential neighborhood.
"Something's not right.. looked up and you could see flames shooting out the back.. almost like the afterburner when they take off at night.. it kept popping and all of a sudden the canopy came off and the two guys ejected out and the plane kept going north," he said.
"Plane ended up turning around on its own with nobody left in it.. came back.. went down south and went nose down right at the end of the runway."
Does the plane have some sort of safety device?
"Something to get it to come back because it was weird to watch it turn all the way around and come back, but if it does, it's a good thing because it was headed for residential neighborhoods," added Hall.
Roads in the area were blocked off during the investigation and clean-up.
Luke AFB is the world's largest F-16 training base.
Video: FOX 10's Ty Brennan and Jill Monier report from the scene.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 10 News for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.