F-16 jet crashes on take off from Houston airport; pilot ejects

A pilot ejected himself from an F-16 carrying air missiles after it caught fire at Ellington Field in Texas.

Emergency crews were dispatched to assist with a "downed plane" on Wednesday, the Houston Fire Department said in a statement, adding the aircraft was on fire after the pilot ejected.

According to the Houston Airport System, Ellington Airport supports various operations of the USA military along with NASA and some private aviation tenants.

The jet belongs to the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 138th Fighter Wing in Tulsa, which has a detachment based at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston.

Airport spokesman Bill Begley said the incident happened as the jet was taking off.

Witness Mitch Ivey was driving by and recorded the incident.

Investigators said a F-16 fighter jet caught fire during takeoff around 10:30 a.m.

The Fighting Falcon pilot, whose name hasn't been released, was taken to an area hospital by military transport. The plane and pilot were on a training mission attached to Operation Noble Eagle, which was established after September 11 to create an air defense shield for the U.S. The evacuation order was expected to continue through the evening rush hour commute.

Further details weren't immediately available Wednesday.

  • Zachary Reyes