LAS VEGAS(CBS) – The United States Air Force has suspended all air training at Nellis until further notice. The base flies close to 42,000 training missions a year, so a significant amount of flying will not be done for the immediate future. The Air Force wants to figure out what went wrong, but most importantly wants to find their pilot.
“I would just like to emphasize that our number one priority is the safety of our local community. We are members of this local community and we take this incident very seriously. Our focus right now is the recovery of the pilot, and then we will continue to try to learn from this mishap and make sure that we provide a very safe environment for our local community,” said Brigadier General. T.J. O’Shaughnessy.
The crash happened about 20 miles west of the town of Caliente, Nevada, about 150 miles north of Las Vegas. Nellis command says the training mission was a dogfight simulation, where two fighters simulate a one-on-one encounter with each other. The plane that went down was an F-16 C Fighting Falcon.
The Air Force says no active weapons were on-board the plane at the time of the crash, and there is no threat to the surrounding area. Once the pilot is found, the next task is figuring out what went wrong to cause it.
“We have already started an investigation into this mishap, but we are very early in this investigation. For the next several weeks, a trained safety investigation board will collect and protect evidence from the scene and gather and analyze all relevant data with the specific purpose of determining the cause so we can prevent future mishaps,” said O’Shaughnessy.
The name of the pilot has not been released.