An F-22 Raptor jet crashed near US 98 on Tyndall Air Force Base Thursday afternoon. The pilot was able to eject safely and there were no injuries on the ground.
The News-Herald reports the plane crashed just south of Panama City took place about 3:30 pm and noted that Bay County Sheriff’s deputies and Mexico Beach Police officers were on the scene to assist with traffic control. A HAZMAT team was in place as well. A stretch of the highway was shut down after the accident, and an Air Force spokesman added that the pilot was under medical supervision.
“The pilot safely ejected and is in the hands of medical personnel,” said Herman Bell, Tyndall Air Force Base spokesman.
The Air Force Times reports the single-seat stealth fighter jet is part of a program that has been plagued with problems. The Raptor cost $190 million and since 2008 pilots have reported hypoxia-like symptoms. There has been at least one fatal crash involving an F-22 and the fleet was grounded for four months in 2011. The Air Force eventually acknowledged problems with the plane’s oxygen supply. The cause of this particular crash was not yet known.
Sources on the scene said the plane crashed and burned, the wreckage ending up in a wooded area near the highway and not far from the Air Force base’s drone runway.
Tyndall Air Force Base is located 12 miles east of Panama City, Florida. The 325th Fighter Wing is stationed there. Tyndall Air Force base had a population of nearly 3,000 at the time of the 2010 census.
The F-22 Raptor plane that crashed Thursday is manufactured by Lockheed Martin.