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Pics/Video: US F-35 fighter jet crashes after ‘making contact’ with KC-130 tanker in California

The CO of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 (VMFA-122), Lt. Col. John P. Price, conducts VMFA-122's first flight operations in an F-35B Lightning II on Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Ariz., March 29, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Allison Lotz)
September 29, 2020

A Marine Corps F-35B fighter jet crashed after “making contact” with a KC-130J during an aerial refueling measure in southern California on Tuesday evening.

“At approximately 1600 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,” a spokesperson with Marine Corps Air Station Yuma confirmed in a statement to American Military News.

The spokesperson also confirmed that the F-35B pilot successfully ejected and is receiving treatment.

Unverified video posted to social media shows black smoke plumes rising from the desert purportedly where the F-35B crashed.

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The KC-130J made an emergency landing in the “vicinity” of the airport in Thermal, Calif., and the crew is safe, the Marine spokesperson confirmed.

Unverified photos posted to social media show the KC-130J after landing in a farm field located just east of the Thermal airport.

Emergency response crews who arrived on scene of the F-35B crash confirmed that at least one soul on board had successfully ejected and parachuted to safely before being picked up by military crews.

The crews said on dispatch radio that the jet had essentially “disintegrated.”

A one-mile radius around the crash site was evacuated.