A military jet crashed Thursday afternoon onto Owens Dry Lake east of U.S. 395 in the Eastern Sierra, but the pilot ejected and was seen walking with his parachute, the Sierra Wave reports.
The Inyo Sheriff's Department, Lone Pine Fire and Ambulance were said to have sent units to the crash site, near the old PP&G plant south of the town of Lone Pine. The pilot reportedly was hospitalized briefly at Southern Inyo Hospital, suffering from back pain.
Officers said the pilot was seen walking with his parachute and appeared to be okay. Right after the crash there was a military aircraft circling over head. It was reported as a naval aircraft.
The Inyo Sheriff’s Dispatcher said he received numerous calls from people who saw the crash – from motorists and local residents. Early reports indicated explosive ordnance may have been aboard the crashed jet. Initially authorities thought the plane was from China Lake Naval Weapons Center. Later a call indicated it was an Air National Guard plane.
Inyo Sheriff Bill Lutze advised officers to let the Navy handle the wreck. There was reportedly some fire confined to the plane that went out. The aircraft itself was not accessible by vehicle, but the Sheriff’s Department stationed patrol cars nearby to the secure the area.
The pilot did go to Southern Inyo Hospital with some complaint of back pain. It was not immediately known why the plane went down. The Eastern Sierra is part of a larger military controlled air space in which jets regularly train. This is not the first crash in the dry lake- Owens Valley area.
--Image is courtesy of Sierra Wave