Military practice missions can go awry, causing extensive damage to aircraft, costing huge amounts in reparations, and sometimes worse, causing injuries or death.
On Tuesday, a Marine Corps refueling tanker aircraft, a KC-130J, and a Joint Strike Fighter jet, an F-35B, collided during an air-to-air refueling mission in California, per officials' reports via Twitter.
The jet hurtled to the ground, blowing up into huge flames, and the tanker made a soft landing in a field. All nine personnel survived.
The pilot of the F-35B jet managed to eject himself safely from the aircraft and is now being treated. The eight crew members of the KC-130J also all made it out safely after its emergency landing.
The KC-130J is on deck in the vicinity of Thermal Airport. All crew members of the KC-130J have been reported safe.— 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (@3rdmaw) September 30, 2020
The official cause of the crash is currently under investigation. Updates will be provided as information becomes available.
"There are some mild injuries that are being treated, but they are all safe," explained 1st Lt. Brett Vannier, spokesperson for the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona, to Military.com.
All nine personnel are part of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, which is led by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One at Yuma. The air-to-air refueling mission was part of their extensive training, reported Military.com.
F-35B Crashing Ground After Mid-Air Collision With KC-130J pic.twitter.com/dPBdVjokJ9— vlad vlad (@vladwlad777) September 30, 2020
In the fiscal year 2020, which began on October 1st, 2019, and ended yesterday, the Marine Corps will have experienced three Class-A aviation accidents.
Following the accident, Martin-Baker, the company that builds the ejection seats for all F-35A and F-35C Fighters, jumped onto Twitter to highlight how many lives their seats have now saved.
A USMC F-35B made contact with a KC-130J during air-to-air refuelling, resulting in the crash of the F-35B. The pilot ejected successfully. pic.twitter.com/LL9e2ty6OZ— Martin-Baker (@MB_EjectEject) September 30, 2020