Military plane crashes near Albuquerque airport; pilot hospitalized

Military fighter plane crashes in New Mexico


Military fighter plane crashes in New Mexico

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A pilot was seriously injured when a military plane crashed Tuesday afternoon near Albuquerque International Sunport Airport in New Mexico, authorities said.

The plane was a development model of the F-35 fighter jet, which was being delivered by Lockheed Martin, two Defense Department officials told CBS News. It had just taken off from Albuquerque and was headed to Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California, officials said.

Lt. Jason Fejer, spokesman for Albuquerque Fire Rescue, said in a video on social media that multiple agencies responded to the crash shortly before 2 p.m. local time.

The plane crashed near the airfield on the south side of Sunport, the airport reported on social media. The pilot and sole occupant of the plane was conscious and was taken to a nearby hospital, the airport said. According to Fejer, the pilot was able to exit the plane and was hospitalized with serious injuries.

Two civilians were also evaluated at the scene, but did not require transportation to a hospital, Fejer added.

It was not immediately clear whether the pilot was a service member or a civilian.

Aerial footage from KOB-TV showed local firefighters dousing the debris. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire, Fejer said.

“Grateful for the quick action of first responders on scene. Praying for the pilot,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said on social media.

—David Martin contributed reporting.