THERMAL, Calif. - A fighter jet and a military transport plane collided mid-air during a refueling operation Tuesday afternoon in the eastern Coachella Valley, resulting in the pilot of the fighter jet parachuting to safety and the other plane making a forced landing.
The crash involving a Lockheed Martin KC-130 and Lockheed Martin F-35Bwas reported at 5 p.m. at an unspecified location near Thermal, according to U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Brett Vannier, spokesman for Marine Corps Air StationYuma in Yuma, Arizona.
The KC-130 made a forced landing in a field near the intersection of Avenue 59 and Polk Street, according to the Riverside County Department of Transportation. The occupants of that aircraft were all reported safe, Vannier said.
The county agency reported that 59th Avenue between Polk and Fillmore streets was closed while emergency crews worked the scene.
Vannier said the pilot of the F-35B "ejected successfully and is currently being treated," although additional information including where the plane ended up, or the extent of the pilot's injuries, if any, was not provided.
The cause of the crash is under investigation, Vannier said.
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