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Pilot Ejects From U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II Fighter Jet In Bizarre Crash On Texas Runway

A U.S. pilot ejected and suffered no serious injury from an F-35 fighter jet in Texas on Thursday during a strange, slow-motion crash that was captured in video widely shared across social media. 

The F-35B, the Marine Corps’ version of the fifth-generation fighter jet, was slowly descending toward the runway at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth when its landing gear appeared to bounce after it first touched down. The plane then crashed nose-first and began to spin, at which point the pilot ejected. 

Officials have not publicly identified the pilot, who fell for only a few seconds. The pilot was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure and subsequently released with no serious injuries reported, according to a statement from the Defense Department’s Contract Management Agency. 

Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder confirmed the crash on Thursday, telling reporters that the F-35 is owned by the plane’s maker Lockheed Martin and “had not been transferred to the U.S. government yet.”  

The company assembles the fighter jet at a facility that shares the runway with the base. 

Ryder added that the fighter jet was being “operated by a U.S. government pilot” at the time of the crash but did not give further details. 

Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, said in a statement that the crash happened as the pilot was ending an acceptance flight for delivery of the aircraft to the U.S. military.  

The company is working with officials at the base and is “thankful that the pilot involved is safe. Safety remains our top priority, and we are supporting the investigation,” according to the statement.  

It is still unknown what caused the crash of the F-35B, which can land vertically in order to fly in and out of areas with limited space, including ships. 

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