Pilot ditched plane in woods to miss nearby homes


Pilot ditched plane in woods to miss nearby homes

US F-16 fighter jet has crashed two miles south of Joint Base Andrews, near Washington DC while the plane was carrying out routine training mission.

Local television showed video images of the pilot drifting to a field under a parachute while a cloud of black smoke rose from the burning plane.

Mark Brady, a spokesman of the Prince George's Fire Department, told NBC 4 in an interview that he did not know if the plane was inbound or outbound to the nearby Joint Base Andrews.

Lt. Col. Michael Corker, the pilot's commanding officer, said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that no one else was injured. "My house shook, like a natural disaster". Some roads are closed in the area.

The plane appears to have gone down in a wooded area in Clinton, Maryland.

The plane went down about 9:15 a.m. (1315 GMT) some 12 miles (19 km) south of the USA capital after the pilot realized he could not land safely, Degnon told a news conference at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, where the aircraft had taken off. The altitude of the jet when he ejected is unknown. They are one of the busiest wings in the country, with as many as 3,000 flights per year guarding Washington's airspace. Authorities are knocking on the doors of homes and are alerting residents.

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The aircraft is believed to be an F-16, NBC News' Tom Costello reported.

It is not clear if the jet was taking off or landing.

Reginald Stewart wasn't home when the crash happened Wednesday, but neighbors called to tell him about it and that debris had hit his house. Brady says homes in the area are being evacuated. "That's what it felt like and what I heard".

Tyrone Wolridge and his wife, Tina, say it felt like a quake and they saw a plume of smoke.

An F-18 Navy jet on a training mission crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach in 2012, injuring seven people and destroying 27 apartments. Officials said the crash and subsequent fire might have caused some of those rounds to go off.

Stay with NBCWashington.com and NBC4 for the latest as this story unfolds.