F-35 crashes at Hill Air Force Base, pilot hospitalized after ejection

Oct 19, 2022, 6:49 PM | Updated: Oct 20, 2022, 7:10 am

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — An F-35 crashed at Utah’s Hill Air Force Base at the north end of the runway Wednesday evening.

The pilot ejected from the crash and emergency crews responded, according to a tweet from the 388th Fighter Wing. The unidentified pilot was on a routine training mission, according to HAFB spokesmen.

The pilot is at a hospital where he is being monitored and it is believed he will recover. Details about any injuries were not provided.

A crash at Hill Air Force Base started a fire with a debris field above a local neighborhood. (Courtesy Heidi Nilson) A crash at Hill Air Force Base started a fire with a debris field above a local neighborhood. (Courtesy Heidi Nilson) A crash at Hill Air Force Base started a fire with a debris field above a local neighborhood. (Courtesy Heidi Nilson) A crash at Hill Air Force Base started a fire with a debris field above a local neighborhood. (Courtesy Heidi Nilson)

The crash, at approximately 6:15 p.m., created a debris field on the north side of the base that extended into South Weber and started a field fire.

KSL TV’s Ashley Moser talked to 13-year-old Mitt Nilson, riding his dirtbike alone near the base. He said he heard the jet and looked up to see the pilot ejecting and landing in a nearby property.

She also spoke with the man who first reached the pilot and he said the pilot appeared uninjured except for some scratches on his hands. Both praised the pilot for being able to avoid hitting property and people.

Firefights knocked the grass fire down in less than an hour. Residents in the area reported a plume of smoke to KSL TV.

Base spokespeople said it appeared the pilot navigated the jet fighter in a way that avoided a worse possible outcome for the crash.

“I do know that the pilot made his best effort to avoid any buildings or anything on the ground prior to ejection and that resulted in no injuries to anyone on the ground,” Col. Craig Andrle said.

The 388th Fighter Wing, a combat unit that flies the F-35 for the United States Air Force, first confirmed the crash on Twitter.

The wing also operates the Utah Test and Training Range.

Base investigators said they would like to hear from anyone who saw something or who may have found or recovered anything related to the crash.

They’re asking those people to call 801-777-3056.

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F-35 crashes at Hill Air Force Base, pilot hospitalized after ejection