Military plane crashes in southern Arizona, sparks fire

FILE - In this May 15, 2015, file photo, a boneyard crew tows an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft prior to the preservation process after its arrival at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz. Military officials confirm a single F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft crashed Wednesday night, June 24, 2015, about 5 miles east of Douglas Municipal Airport. The pilot with the 162nd Wing Arizona Air National Guard was the only person on board during the night training mission, according to an Arizona Air National Guard statement. The pilot's identity and condition is unknown at this time. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

DOUGLAS, Ariz. (AP) — Military officials confirm a single F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft crashed Wednesday night in southern Arizona.

The pilot flying with the 162nd Wing Arizona Air National Guard was the only person on board during the night training mission, according to an Arizona Air National Guard statement. The pilot’s identity and condition is unknown at this time.

Angel Ortega, of Douglas, said he heard a loud explosion and initially thought it was thunder before he saw the smoke.

Cochise County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Carol Capas tells the Arizona Daily Star that the plane ruptured a gas line and sparked a fire, which “is almost out.” Once the flames are extinguished, officials will be able to assess the damage.

A board will be appointed to investigate the incident.

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