F-16 fighter jet crashes on training mission; pilot safe

SALINAS PEAK, N.M. (AP) — An F-16 fighter jet from an Air Force base in Arizona crashed Wednesday while on a training mission in New Mexico, but the pilot safely ejected, authorities said.

The Fighting Falcon went down about 8:45 a.m. near Salinas Peak, about 45 miles northwest of Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

Holloman officials said the crash site was in a remote area with rugged terrain near Truth or Consequences, and no live munitions were aboard the $25 million, single-seat aircraft.

They said the F-16 was operating in military airspace over the White Sands Missile Range. An Air Force safety investigation board will be formed to determine the cause of the crash.

The name of the pilot, who was transported to a medical facility, wasn’t immediately released.

Holloman officials said the pilot was assigned to the 314th Fighter Squadron. The F-16 was part of the 54th Fighter Group at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona.

The group is a tenant unit of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke and operates two F-16 training squadrons at Holloman.

A Luke spokeswoman said the base is making room for F-35 jets and shifting many F-16s to Holloman for training missions.

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