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F-16 fighter jet crashes near Phoenix; pilots reported OK after ejecting

Bobby Capps via Twitter

Smoke rises from the scene of an F16 fighter jet crash Wednesday, June 26, near Glendale, Ariz.

Two pilots ejected safely just before an F-16 fighter jet crashed Wednesday night near Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz., authorities said.

"There has been an incident at the base, and an investigation is beginning," Rusty Mitchell, a spokesman for the base, told The Arizona Republic of Phoenix.

Glendale fire spokesman Gilbert Mancilla told KNXV-TV of Phoenix that the pilots were found in a field nearby. They suffered only minor injuries, he said.

Luke Air Force Base, about 15 miles west of Phoenix, is home to the 56th Fighter Wing and is the world's biggest F-16 training center, with about 170 of the aircraft based there.

The F-16, a single-engine tactical aircraft made by Lockheed Martin, is one of the older jets in the Air Force, which is no longer buying them. In addition to its tactical duties, the F-16 is the plane used by the Air Force Thunderbirds, which made their debut at Luke AFB in 1953.

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