A jet under contract to the U.S. Military crashed near a naval base in Southern California on Wednesday during a training exercise, killing the pilot, media reports said, citing authorities. The jet was reportedly a Hawker Hunter MK.58 -- a single-seat ground attack plane.
The aircraft reportedly went down in a strawberry field near Port Hueneme in Ventura County, about 70 miles northwest of Los Angeles, a spokesperson for the county fire department reportedly said. The pilot, who was the only person on board the aircraft, was declared dead at the crash site. The aircraft, which was owned by Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., of Newport News, Virginia, was used on a contract basis by the U.S. military.
There were no reports of anyone being injured on the ground as “nobody was in that portion of the field,” Ventura County fire Capt. Mike Lindbery said, according to The Associated Press, or AP.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transport Safety Board are investigating the crash, Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the FAA, reportedly said.
"The company has ceased flight operations during preliminary investigations," Matt Bannon, a spokesman for the contractor, said, according to AP. The pilot’s name was not revealed, but Bannon reportedly said that he was a former military pilot who was "extremely proficient and knowledgeable about fighter tactics and operating high-performance aircraft."