Pilot ejects after fiery F-16 crash at Texas airport

KHOU 11's Matthew Dougherty reports

HOUSTON -- A Fighting Falcon pilot ejected from an F-16 jet at Ellington Airport early Wednesday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command confirms.

The pilot, who is from a detachment of the 138th Fighter Wing, crashed on take-off during a training flight and the plane caught fire.

The pilot was taken to an area hospital by military transport for evaluation.

The jet was carrying ammunition, according to CBS News, and was on a training mission for NORAD. 

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The airport was quickly evacuated, including children on a field trip. As part of the 4000-square foot radius evacuation zone a nearby construction site and golf course were also evacuated.

The Houston Office of Emergency Management asks the public to avoid the area around the airport as the situation is assessed, but they say there is no threat to any residents.

Police closed Beltway 8 from Crenshaw to Galveston Road.

Officers blocking nearby roads told KHOU 11 News they believed extra precautions were in place because the jet had ammunition onboard, but the military has not confirmed what kind of ammunition. 

"The Houston Fire Department is responding to a military jet which has caught fire on the north side of Ellington Field in southeast Houston," Houston OEM stated. "Personnel from Ellington Field are being evacuated, and residents in the area can expect to see increased traffic and emergency vehicles."

Witness Theresa Hodges tells KHOU 11 she was walking in a neighborhood near the airport when she heard the jet flying overhead. She then saw smoke a short time later.

Other neighbors reported hearing a loud boom. 

According to the Houston Airport System, Ellington Airport - previously known as Ellington Field - supports various operations of the U.S. military along with NASA and some private aviation tenants.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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