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Military F-16 Fighter Jet Crashes At March Air Reserve Base; Pilot OK After Ejecting

MORENO VALLEY (CBSLA) - A fighter jet has crashed into a warehouse at March Air Reserve Base in the Moreno Valley area, authorities said Thursday.

march air base crash
(credit: CBSLA)

Riverside County firefighters requested a full hazardous materials response because the aircraft was loaded with ordnance, according to City News Service.

The pilot ejected safely onto the airfield.

The California Highway Patrol shut down southbound Interstate 215 at Opportunity and Meridian ways over apparent concerns about explosions.

Two people were injured inside the warehouse, reported CBS2/KCAL9's Nicole Comstock.The two people injured were employees of Boss Performance Parts, an auto parts business.

The United States Air Force Reserve said five people on the ground were injured.

At least one of the people was transported to Riverside University Medical Center in unknown condition.

Later, officials said as many as 12 people were treated at the scene but some only had minor cuts.

The crash was reported around 3:45 p.m., according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

The crash ignited a fire but was quickly extinguished by the building's sprinkler system.

The owner of Boss Performance Parts told Comstock that ten minutes prior to the crash, the area was filled with employees testing equipment.

According to the Air Force Reserve, the jet is assigned to the 114th Fighter Wing Unit out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and was on a training mission for the North American Aerospace Defense Command aka NORAD.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Thursday evening, Comstock found several employees who were rather calm about a fighter jet crashing through their roof.

In fact, one employee recorded cellphone video of the plane crash aftermath.

"That's a military airplane in our building," Jeff Schoffstall said calmly, while filming.

He could hardly believe what he was seeing.

"So the turbines are spinning, there's no roof on the building so you're looking through the roof, the walls are gone," Schoffstall says.

Another employee was even more direct.

"It just shook the whole building," said Baldur Castro. And Castro saw people get shaken as well -- one was knocked off an air lift.

"Jose, he was just full of concrete dust," Castro says.


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