Military plane crashes near Albuquerque airport; pilot hospitalized

A pilot was seriously injured when a military plane crashed Tuesday afternoon near the international port of Albuquerque, New Mexico, authorities said.

The plane was a development model of the F-35 fighter jet, delivered by Lockheed Martin, two Defense Department officials told CBS News. It had just taken off from Albuquerque and was en route to Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California, officials said.

Lt. Jason Fejer, a spokesman for Albuquerque Fire Rescue, said in a social media video that multiple agencies responded to the crash shortly before 2 p.m. local time.

The plane crashed near the airfield south of Sunport, the airport reported on social media. The pilot and sole occupant of the plane was conscious and transported to a nearby hospital, the airport said. According to Fejer, the pilot was able to exit the plane and was hospitalized with serious injuries.

Two civilians were also examined at the scene, but did not need to be transported to a hospital, Fejer added.

It was not immediately clear whether the pilot was military or civilian.

Aerial footage from KOB-TV showed local firefighters dousing the rubble. Firefighters were able to put out the fire, Fejer said.

“I am grateful for the quick action of the first responders who arrived on scene, praying for the pilot,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said on social media.

— David Martin contributed reporting.

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