By Joseph Serna
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — An F-16 returning to March Air Reserve Base in Moreno Valley crashed after its pilot ejected, base officials said Thursday.

The jet crashed into a building off the base, on Van Buren Boulevard, about 3:45 p.m. PDT, said March Air Reserve Base Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Holliday.

The pilot’s condition was not immediately known. The crash ignited a structure fire but it “wasn’t very big,” Holliday said.

Details on what the jet had been doing prior to the crash were not immediately available. Authorities did not have information on any other injuries and it was not clear whether the jet was carrying any ordnance or other dangerous materials.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said the crash occurred around Van Buren and the 215 Freeway.

“Multiple agencies responding. Please stay out of area and clear emergency vehicles,” the department said on Twitter.

The 215 Freeway was closed in both directions an hour after the crash, according to California Highway Patrol logs. The CHP established a 2,000-foot perimeter around the crash site.

Images from the scene broadcast by local news agencies showed a huge hole in the roof of an industrial building next to the freeway where the jet apparently crashed. The building was loaded with pallets of boxes and other items. No smoke or fire was visible at the scene.

A photo from inside the building showed the wreckage buried in twisted metal, boxes and scaffolding.


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