F-16 Fighter Jet Crashes Into California Warehouse, Worker Captures Aftermath on Video

On Thursday, an F-16 fighter jet crashed into a warehouse near the March Air Reserve Base in southern California. The pilot ejected and survived, but roughly a dozen people inside the warehouse were sent to the hospital for minor injuries related to the crash. The aftermath was all captured on video.

The fighter jet, part of the 114th Fighter Wing Unit from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, crashed due to a “hydraulic failure,” according to multiple reports. The Air Force Reserve told local news station KCAL-TV that the F-16 was on a training mission for NORAD.

Fire crews in the area requested a full hazardous materials response to the scene because the F-16 was reportedly carrying weapons, though it’s not immediately clear what kind of ordnance this particular plane may have been equipped with yesterday. The F-16 can carry anything from Sidewinder missiles to B61 or B83 thermonuclear bombs.

It’s also not clear what danger there may have been to the surrounding community. The immediate area in Riverside County was evacuated while officials continue to conduct an investigation. Even journalists were kept away last night.

“It kind of sounded like someone was hotdogging, breaking the sound barrier, but it was the actual building collapsing on itself,” warehouse worker Baldur Castro told local TV news station CBS 8 San Diego.

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Video and photos taken by another warehouse worker, Jeff Schoffstall, and posted to Facebook show the damage from inside the warehouse, as well as the emergency response.

“Holy fucking shit, dude,” Shoffstall said in a video posted online. “That’s a fucking military airplane... that’s a military airplane in our building.”

Video taken from a local news helicopter shows the aftermath of the F-16 crashing into the warehouse’s roof, causing an enormous hole:

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And a motorist even captured the moment when the jet plunged toward the warehouse, from the vantage point of nearby Interstate 215. Parts of Interstate 215 were closed off in the wake of the crash.

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The CEO of the company inside the warehouse, Mike Johnson, told CNN that his employees were all going to be okay, despite the injuries from debris.

“Thank God everyone is safe and OK,” Johnson told CNN. “We’ll have to see what this means for the company, but right now our concern is with our employees and their families.”

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We will update this story as we learn more.

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About the author

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog