F-16 fighter jet crashes in southeast Arizona, pilot’s fate unknown

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An Air National Guard F-16 fighter jet crashed near Safford in southeastern Arizona on Tuesday, local officials said. A rescue operation was launched but the fate of the pilot was not immediately known.

The incident happened at about 3 p.m.MT on Tuesday when the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft went down approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Safford in Graham County, close to the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.

Safford is about 82 miles (133 kilometers) northeast of Tucson, or 143 miles (230 kilometers) southeast of Phoenix.

“Rescue efforts are underway and the status of the pilot is unknown at this time,” the 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard said in a statement. The accident reportedly happened during training exercises out of Tucson International Airport.

Other details, such as the possible cause of the crash, were not immediately available. The 162nd Fighter Wing added in its statement that the U.S. Air Force has assembled an interim safety board to investigate the incident.

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