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Military aircraft crashes in Las Vegas; 1 dead

An A-4K Skyhawk assigned to Draken International at Kinston Regional Jetport, North Carolina, Sept. 11, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly Barrera)
May 24, 2021

A military plane crashed in a residential area south of Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday evening. One pilot, a contractor with a defense firm, has died.

A statement from defense contractor Draken US provided to American Military News via Nellis Air Force Base said, “Draken has received news of a downed aircraft out of Nellis AFB and the tragic loss of one of our pilots. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people and families affected by this event. We are doing everything in our power to assist them in this time of need, and we are working closely with federal, state and local authorities. Draken US is also cooperating with investigating agencies to determine what led to this tragic accident.”

The pilot was the only soul on board. Their identity has not been released.

Nellis Air Force Base spokesman Lt. Col. Bryon McGarry confirmed the incident in an earlier statement to American Military News, saying, “A contractor-operated aircraft that took off from Nellis Air Force Base crashed at approximately 2:30 p.m. May 24 outside the southern edge of the base.”

The base added that federal and local first responders are at the scene and an investigation is underway.

Hours earlier, local 8NewsNow reporter David Charns had said firefighters on scene declared one pilot dead.

Video posted to social media show a smoke plume lingering over homes in the residential area.

Local Fox 5 news said the accident took place at 2245 North Christy Lane, approximately one mile from Nellis’ runway.

First responders from the Clark County Fire Department and “several units” from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department were on scene.

Florida-based Draken US employs reservists and retired military pilots in providing air support, training, research and more with fighter aircraft.

“The men and women of Team Nellis send our deepest condolences to the teammates, friends and family of our Draken wingman,” Nellis Air Force Base said.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted that he and his wife Kathy were “praying for all those involved in today’s incident — especially the men and women of @NellisAFB and the first responders on the scene.”