The community was lucky when an F-16 crashed near the March Air Reserve Base last Thursday and although initial reports indicate the crash resulted from a hydraulic failure, the cause remains under investigation. The F-16 involved was part of the South Dakota Air National Guard in Sioux Falls, where pilots train to respond to state emergencies or at the direction of the President in times of crisis. The piolet flying the F-16 ejected safely, parachuted down and walked away without major injuries as the aircraft hit the ground and plunged into the roof of the 500,000-square-foot See Water Inc. warehouse. All employees in the warehouse were safe, however 13 individuals did receive medical attention. Three of them were admitted to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries while the remaining 10, according to officials, were treated for fume and debris exposure before being discharged. Some of those who received treatment were first responders. It was a relief that none of the injuries were life threatening and although the Air Force Explosive Ordnance Team was on scene, it was after only the U.S. Air Force officials revealed the F-16 carried live ammunition needed for its NORAD alert mission did the community realize how lucky it really was. Colonel Thomas McNamara of the March Air Reserve Base held a press briefing about the accident on Friday, but beyond acknowledging the plane carried a “standard armament package,” the type of ordinance in that was in the package remains a mystery. The ordinance was safely detonated at the Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center in Riverside around 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.
Header Photo: An F-16 similar to the one that crashed into the Moreno Valley Warehouse.