The pilot whose fighter jet crashed after it took off from Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nev., has died.
The pilot, not yet identified, was a contractor, and the aircraft was owned and operated by Draken U.S. The company operates as a Florida-based company that provides “adversary air support” for Air Force pilots.
The jet crashed about 2:30 p.m. PT Monday near the southern edge of the base. An anonymous official also revealed to ABC News the base often relies on contractor aircraft to fly missions for training purposes.
In a released statement regarding the incident, officials said, “Draken has received news of a downed aircraft out of Nellis AFB and the tragic loss of one of our pilots.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people and families affected by this event,” the statement continued. “We are doing everything in our power to assist them in this time of need, and we are working closely with federal, state, and local authorities.”
More Details Expected To Come Out Surrounding Jet Crash
“The men and women of Team Nellis send our deepest condolences to the teammates, friends, and family of our Draken wingman,” the release added.
The pilot was the lone operator of the Mirage F1. Officials have yet to release the cause of the crash or potential injuries.
Additionally, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash of a Dassault Aviation Mirage F1. At Nellis, Draken maintains several aircraft, including the Mirage F1, a fighter jet used to fly against the U.S. Air Force pilots as aggressor jets in training.
Authorities later sent Clark County Fire Department crews to a home near East Lake Mead and North Nellis boulevards. The homeowner, Jose Villanueva, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that, “It was scary to be honest with you. It was a really, really, really, really strong noise.” Fortunately, no one in his home was injured.
Nellis Air Force Base is located in southern Nevada, not far from downtown Las Vegas. According to their web page, the base covers more than 14,000 acres. Moreso, the total land area occupied by Nellis and its restricted ranges is also about 5,000 square miles.
Draken U.S. also said it’s cooperating with local, state, and federal investigative agencies to determine the cause of the fatality. The incident remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.