F-18 fighter plane crash at the Zaragoza air base, when the pilot successfully ejected
An F-18 fighter jet crashed at an air base in the Spanish city of Zaragoza, but the pilot ejected successfully, according to the Spanish Ministry of Defense.
Barcelona, Spain — An F-18 fighter jet crashed at an air base in the Spanish city of Zaragoza, but the pilot ejected successfully, the Spanish Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday.
The plane landed within the boundaries of the base, the Ministry of Defense announced on Twitter.
The base, which is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) outside the city, belongs to the Spanish Air and Space Force.
Videos posted on social media showed a plane on fire as it plummeted towards the ground.
The air force said a few hours after the disaster that the pilot was “recovering well” but would remain in the hospital under observation for “several days”.
According to the Spanish public service news agency EFE, the F-18 was training for an air show when the accident happened.
The Guardia Civil told The Associated Press that one of its patrols was the first to reach the pilot, who fell over the outer fence surrounding the air base.
According to information from the Guardia Civil, the pilot suffered injuries to his leg, apparently because he ejected from a low height with a parachute. He was taken to hospital by helicopter.
The Guardia Civil said it was cooperating with the military in investigating the accident. They said the initial information given by the pilot indicated that the plane had apparently malfunctioned.
The American-made F-18 Hornet has been part of the US air defense since the 1980s and has been purchased by the air forces of several allied countries.
The Spanish Air Force acquired the first 72 F-18s produced by McDonnell Douglas in 1983. The fighters, known for their versatility, entered service three years later. The Spanish Air Force later purchased an unspecified number of additional F-18s.
The Zaragoza base is home to a Spanish F-18 unit.
Spain’s defense ministry did not immediately respond to AP’s questions about the crash.