An F/A-18E fighter jet crashed this morning in Death Valley National Park in Rainbow Canyon, also known as "Star Wars Canyon," which is located near China Lake, a naval air weapons station that's about 125 miles north of Los Angeles.
The crash occurred around 10 a.m. local time, according to the Los Angeles Times, and injured seven people though their injuries are reported as "minor." The status of the pilot has yet to be determined.
The canyon is well-known for its jet flybys due to the proximity of the nearby naval base and its use as a low-altitude training ground for pilots. The canyon is used by several air bases in California and Nevada, which include Nellis Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Lemoore, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and Fresno Air National Guard Base.
The canyon is also famous for crowds of visitors and photographers hoping to glimpse aircraft in action. Here is a video of a variety of jet fighters threading Star Wars Canyon in December 2018:
Lydia Bock, public affairs officer for the Joint Strike Fighter Wing, says "search and rescue personnel are on scene and the status of the pilot is currently unknown."
We'll update this post once we receive more information.
Source: Los Angeles Times
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