The F-16 was part of the 113th Fighter Wing out of Andrews. The pilot was able to eject and has been reported as “okay,” by Air Force spokesmen.
Contradictory reports have surfaced regarding the exact distance away from the base the event took place, with some placing it as close as two miles from the air strip, and others indicating that it may have been further away – in either event no casualties have been reported and homes near the scene of the crash are being evacuated by emergency officials as a precaution due to the possibility of hazardous materials at the scene.
Mark Brady, a representative from Prince George’s County Fire and EMS told the media that their personnel are currently knocking on doors on all homes in the area to alert residents to any possible danger. Some roads have been closed in the area of Temple Hills Road and Woodelves Way in Clinton, Maryland as a result.
“…I just heard a loud boom, I guess… like how a large tree falls and shakes the ground,” local resident Kent Roberson told reporters. “That’s what it felt like and what I heard.”
Roberson reported then seeing flames and smoke rising from the vicinity of the crash.
“We have reports that there was one pilot on board the aircraft who parachuted out, and has been picked up by a military helicopter and has been taken to an area hospital,” Brady told reporters near the scene.
The altitude the pilot ejected from is not yet known, nor are the extent of any possible injuries. Likewise, no details have surfaced as to the cause of the crash. Based on its proximity to the airfield, it seems likely that the crash could have occurred during takeoff or landing.
Military explosive ordnance disposal units are on the scene to ensure there is no risk of payload detonation, though no information regarding armament on the F-16 has been released yet to the public.
A man who identified himself as “Patrick” claimed that he saw the plane go down, and ran into the woods to look for the wreckage. According to him, he found the pilot standing near the site of the crash, and he immediately asked if the surrounding neighborhood was “okay,” as he had live armaments on board.
Witness reports also place another jet in the vicinity of the crash, but only one went down. Air Force officials have not confirmed any involvement from a second jet. Per their statement, the crash occurred during a training mission.
Photographs of the pilot have surfaced on social media platforms such as Twitter, but have not been confirmed by Air Force officials. In the images, a pilot can clearly be seen with an open parachute, seemingly communicating via hand-held radio.
Town officials predict road closures to be “lengthy,” and recommend people in the area do not attempt to investigate the scene.
Feature image courtesy of CNN