Audio from an air tanker that collided with a military fighter jet in California shows the crew had “two engines out,” while also “leaking fuel, and likely on fire.”
The crew onboard the KC-130J tankers declared an emergency mid-air to flight controllers in LA around 4 p.m. The controllers asked the crew to confirm if the plane was “going down now” following a refueling that went wrong.
The KC-130J tanker had to make an emergency landing after hitting an F-35B military fighter jet. The jet crashed near the Salton Sea on Tuesday afternoon. However, the pilot was able to exit the plane and parachute to safety. He is being treated for injuries after ejecting from his aircraft.
The tanker landed in a field with all eight crew members also escaping unhurt.
“LA Center, LA Center, RAIDER 50 declaring an emergency, mid-air collision with VOLT 93,” the transmission said.
The tanker crew continues, “we declare an emergency. We still have partial control of the aircraft. Two engines out. We are aiming towards, uh.” Then the transmission from the tanker cuts out.
The US Marine Corps Releases Statement on Fighter Jet Emergency Landing
The US Marine Corps spoke in a statement regarding the incident.
“An F-35B made contact with a KC-130J during an air-to-air refueling evolution, resulting in the crash of the F-35B. The pilot of the F-35B ejected successfully and is currently being treated. The KC-130J is on deck in the vicinity of Thermal Airport. All crew members of the KC-130J have been reported safe. The official cause of the crash is currently under investigation.”
Both eyewitnesses and first responders said the fighter jet was “fully engulfed” in flames and “disintegrated” once reaching the ground.
According to officials, both aircraft were stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
[H/T Daily Mail]