Dramatic footage captured by a bystander near the Naval Reserve base in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday morning captures the moment a pilot ejected from an F-35B fighter jet after the aircraft malfunctioned during landing.
The cell phone footage showed the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II slowly coming in for a vertical landing on the runway, like a helicopter would land, when it bounced off the tarmac and then did a hard nose dive forward breaking off its front wheel.
The jet then spun around on the runway for a few seconds before the pilot decided to hit the eject button. Smoke shoots from the jet as the pilot ejected himself about 50 feet into the air.
The pilot’s parachute opened and fortunately, he was able to make a safe landing on the ground.
The military will likely be able to repair it, figure out what went wrong, and why the situation unfolded the way that it did.
The White Settlement Police Department said in a Facebook statement that they are thankful the pilot is okay. The department said they responded to the emergency call for assistance to secure and patrol perimeter fencing along the runway around 10:15am that morning.
WSPD wrote on Facebook,“We have a great relationship with Lockheed Martin and the Naval Air Station – Joint Reserve Base and quickly responded and coordinated our public safety response to assist their teams.”
According to the post, Lockheed’s official statement was, “We are aware of the F-35B crash on the shared runway at Naval Air Station JRB FW and understand that the pilot ejected successfully. Safety is our priority, and we will follow appropriate investigation protocol.”
The Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin also said that an investigation was launched into the crash to dig deeper into the incident.