U-2 spy plane crashes in California, pilot dead and one more hurt
Fourth Estate Staff
Silicon Valley, CA, United States (4E) – A United States military plane, specifically a U-2 spy plane, crashed in California on Tuesday killing the pilot and leaving one person injured.
According to reports, the U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane fell from the sky near the Sutter Buttes. Sutter Buttes is a small mountain range in the Sacramento Valley.
The second person injured is said to be a pilot as well. The crash was confirmed by Beale Air Force Base and they noted that the two pilots were ejected from the plane. The injured pilot’s condition remains unclear while the cause of death of the deceased pilot has not been determined yet. The two pilots were reportedly on a training mission when the accident took place. The aircraft was assigned to 1st Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale Air Force Base.
A witness, identified as Michael Berry of the Sutter County Agriculture Department, said in a statement that he witnessed the crash. He noted, “We heard a loud boom and saw a white puff of smoke. We saw the pilots eject and it looked like two parachutes came out.” A parachute was recovered at the scene but it was unclear if it failed to work probably causing the death of one of the pilots.
Aside from one of the pilots’ death, the crash also caused a grass fire that burned more than 250 acres. The fire was put off by 20 fire engines and three aircrafts.
The U-2 Dragon Lady provides high altitude and all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance any time of the day to support the United States and its allied forces. It is known as one of the most difficult planes to fly at low altitudes.
This is not the first time that a U-2 plane from Beale crashed. In 1996, another crashed into the parking lot of the Oroville Mercury Register after declaring an inflight emergency 15 minutes after take-off. A pilot ejected from the plane and was found dead.
The investigation is ongoing.