IMPERIAL COUNTY, California -- A Marine Corps F-35 fighter jet crashed in California after clipping the wing of a Marine KC-130 refueling tanker during a mid-air refueling on Tuesday, according to a Marine Corps statement.
The F-35 pilot was able to eject safely and the KC-130 was able to carry out a safe emergency landing. The pilot was being treated for his injuries.
"At approximately 1600 (4 p.m. Pacific time) it was reported that an F-35B made contact with a KC-130J during an air-to-air refueling evolution, resulting in the crash of the F-35B," read a statement from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona. "The pilot of the F-35B ejected successfully and is currently being treated."
"The KC-130J is on deck in the vicinity of Thermal Airport. All crew members of the KC-130J have been reported safe," read the statement.
The refueling tanker landed near a field, according to ABC affiliate KESQ.
A defense official said both aircrafts were stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
The Marines said the incident was under investigation.
UPDATE: Military officials confirm a fighter crashed near Salton City during air-to-air refueling, causing another military aircraft to make an emergency landing in Thermal. @JakeKESQ will have the latest tonight at 10 and 11 p.m.— KESQ News Channel 3 (@KESQ) September 30, 2020
Details: https://t.co/zUdzCumC68 pic.twitter.com/NLiQkdhbrz