Pilot seriously injured as F-35 crashes at Albuquerque airport

An F-35 Lightning II aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from an Albuquerque airport Tuesday afternoon, but the pilot ejected and is hospitalized with serious injuries. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force

May 28 (UPI) -- A pilot survived the crash of a developmental version of an F-35 fighter shortly after taking off from the Albuquerque International Sunport just before 2 p.m. MDT.

Lockheed Martin was delivering the aircraft to Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California, but the plane crashed in on the airport's south side.

The plane caught fire, which local firefighters extinguished.

The pilot ejected from the plane and was conscious when emergency response teams arrived and took the unnamed pilot to a nearby hospital for treatment.

First responders also treated two civilians who didn't require transportation to the hospital after debris crossed a road and struck them.

The cause of the crash wasn't reported but allegedly involved a plane from Kirtland Air Force Base.

The F-35 Lightning II is a single-seat supersonic fifth-generation fighter capable of flying up to 1,200 mph and reaching a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet.