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F-35 fighter jet worth $135M crashes near Albuquerque International Sunport, pilot injured

A F-35 military fighter jet crashed off of the airfield at Albuquerque International Sunport on Tuesday, airport and fire officials said.

According to the sunport, the pilot was “conscious and breathing” and was transported to the hospital. U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin identified the plane as an F-35B that was en route from Fort Worth, Texas to Edwards Air Force Base in California, and had stopped at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico to refuel.

“This was a U.S. Government-owned and operated aircraft that was being flown by a government pilot who safely ejected,” the manufacturer said in an emailed statement to USA TODAY. “The aircraft was a test jet equipped with Technology Refresh 2 (TR-2) and was transferring to Edwards AFB for additional test equipment modification.”

“Safety is our priority, and we will follow appropriate investigation protocols,” the company’s statement reads.

In a video posted to X on Tuesday, Albuquerque Fire Rescue Lt. Jason Fejer, the public information officer for the department, said they started receiving reports of a possible aircraft down just before 2 p.m. local time.

According to a fact sheet for the F-35, the aircraft is worth $135 million dollars.

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Pilot was able to get out but sustained injuries

Fejer confirmed that the pilot was able to get out and was transported to the hospital with “serious injuries.” The department also said there were two other civilians that were assessed and evaluated on scene, but neither were taken to the hospital.

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Fejer also said the fire had been extinguished and that crews were in the process of cleaning up the scene.

Airport officials said flight operations have resumed but encouraged travelers to check with your airline for flight status.

“Grateful for the rapid action of the first responders who arrived to the scene. Praying for the pilot,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said on X Tuesday.

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