F-18 fighter jet crashes at airbase in Spain, pilot ejects successfully

Pilot suffers injuries to his legs, evacuated to hospital in a helicopter

Spain Zaragoza F18 Accident Emergency service members work in the area where an F-18 fighter jet crashed in Zaragoza, Spain | AP

An F-18 fighter jet crashed at an airbase in the Spanish city of Zaragoza but the pilot ejected successfully, the Spanish defence ministry said on Saturday.

The aircraft landed within the perimeter of the base, the defence ministry said on Twitter.

The base, which lies about 16 kilometres outside the city, belongs to the Spanish Air and Space Force. Videos posted on social media showed a plane in flames falling towards the ground.

“The pilot was already in hospital and his life was not in danger,” the air force said.

Spain's public news agency EFE said the F-18 was training for a flying exhibition when the incident occurred.

The Guardia Civil told The Associated Press that one of its patrols was the first to reach the pilot, who fell outside the exterior fence surrounding the airbase.

According to the Guardia Civil, the pilot suffered injuries to his legs, apparently because he ejected with a parachute from a low altitude. He was evacuated to the hospital in a helicopter.

The Guardia Civil said it would collaborate with the military in investigating the crash. It said that the initial information provided by the pilot was that the plane had apparently suffered a malfunction.

The American-made F-18 Hornet has formed a part of the air defences of the United States since the 1980s and has been purchased by the air forces of several allied countries.


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