RIVERSIDE — An F-16 fighter jet crashed Thursday into a warehouse just outside March Air Reserve Base in California, sending a dozen people to hospitals for evaluation after they were exposed to debris, authorities said.
The pilot ejected and parachuted to safety, said Maj. Perry Covington, the base’s director of public affairs. The cause of the crash was under investigation.
Interstate 215, which runs between the base and the warehouse, was closed in both directions, backing up rush-hour traffic for miles.
Television news showed a large hole in the roof and sprinklers on inside the building.
Cellphone photos and video from inside showed what appeared to be the tail of the plane buried in twisted metal and piles of cardboard boxes.
A dozen people were hosed down and taken to hospitals, and there were no major injuries, state fire Capt. Fernando Herrera said.
The crash also caused a small fire doused by the warehouse sprinkler system, Herrera said.
The crash happened as the pilot was landing following a routine training mission, March Air Reserve Base Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Holliday said.
“The pilot was having hydraulic problems,” Holliday said. “He started losing control of the aircraft.”