A US pilot was ejected from an F-35 fighter jet in Texas on Thursday in a strange slow-motion crash captured in video that was shared widely on social media and suffered no serious injuries.
The F-35B, the Marine Corps’ version of the fifth-generation fighter jet, was slowly descending toward the runway at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth when its landing gear appeared to jump after the initial landing. The aircraft then crashed nose first and began to rotate, prompting the pilot to eject.
Officials have not publicly identified the pilot, who fell just seconds. The pilot was taken to hospital as a precaution and was subsequently discharged with no reported serious injuries, according to a statement from the Defense Department’s Contract Management Agency.
Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Gen. Patrick Ryder confirmed the crash Thursday, telling reporters that the F-35 is owned by aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin and “has not yet been handed over to the US government.”
The company assembles the fighter jet at a facility that shares the runway with the base.
Ryder added that the fighter jet was “operated by a US government pilot” at the time of the crash, but gave no further details.
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Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, said in a statement that the crash happened as the pilot completed an acceptance flight for the delivery of the plane to the US military.
The company is working with base officials and is “grateful that the pilot involved is safe. Safety remains our top priority and we support the investigation,” the statement said.
It is still unknown what caused the crash of the F-35B, which can land vertically to fly in and out of areas with limited space, including ships.