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Fighter pilot ejects, jet crashes after colliding with refueling plane

The pilot of the F-35B fighter jet ejected successfully and was being treated Tuesday, a Marine base in Arizona said.
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This March 28, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Marine Corps shows the Marine Corps Air Station Squadron barracks at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Yuma, Ariz.Cpl. Sabrina Candiaflores / U.S. Marine Corps via AP file

Two military planes, a fighter jet and a refueling aircraft, "made contact" during training Tuesday, forcing the fighter pilot to eject, according to the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona.

The incident occurred around 4 p.m. as an F-35B combat aircraft made contact with a KC-130J, which is a tanker, "during an air-to-air refueling evolution," the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma said in a statement.

The pilot of the fighter jet ejected successfully and was being treated. That plane crashed.

The larger plane landed, and all crew members were reported safe, the statement said. That plane was near an airport in Thermal, California.

The KC-130J was assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, 1st Lt. Brett Vannier of the air station in Yuma said.

There were injuries to people on both aircraft, but exactly how many people were injured was not clear Tuesday night. Vannier said all injuries were minor.

The larger plane had eight people aboard, Vannier said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, the military said.

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma is in the southwest part of Arizona near the California border.

The planes were conducting Weapons and Tactics Instructor training out of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma when the collision occurred, Vannier said. The training is described in military materials as a 7-week period of instruction.