United States Marine Corps F-35 jet crashes after clipping wings with KC-130J refuelling aircraft

On 29 September, the United States Marine Corps reported that a Lockheed Martin F-35B clipped wings with a Lockheed Martin KC-130J Super Hercules (registered QB6765) during an air-to-air refuelling evolution, resulting in the crash of the F-35B. The accident happened at approximately 16:00 local time. The pilot of the F-35B ejected successfully and is currently being treated.

The pilots of the KC-130J declared a may-day emergency reporting two damaged engines (note from editor: right-hand side), leaking fuel and likely on fire while making a rapid descent. The pilots were able to make an emergency landing on a field near Thermal Airport, California, U.S. All crew members of the KC-130J have been reported safe.

The official cause of the crash is currently under investigation. Updates will be provided as information becomes available.

Air traffic control audio was posted by JetScan1 over at LiveATC.net, you can listen to it for yourself here.

Following images appeared on social media:

Background information (source Wikipedia):

Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 (VMGR-352) is a United States Marine Corps KC-130J squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 11 (MAG-11), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW) and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refuelling capabilities to support Fleet Marine Force (FMF) air operations in addition to assault air transport of personnel, equipment, and supplies. The squadron, known as the “Raiders” is stationed at Marine Corps Air Station MiramarCalifornia.

Bart Noëth: Since 1996, I have been working in the Belgian airline industry, from a weekend job as a cabin aircraft cleaner to a flight attendant. After the demise of Sabena - in 2001, I created a website called www.luchtzak.be, originally a meeting place for plane spotters and aviation freaks. Since 2017, the website changed into a professional news site. Next to aviation, I love to travel, wine and dine and enjoy my time off(-line) with my girlfriend, friends and family. My favourite football squad is KV Mechelen, I am an Ironman 70.3 finisher and my ambition is to complete a full Ironman.
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