All Marines involved in Tuesday’s collision between a Marine F-35B and a Marine KC-130J have returned safely to their units, according to a Marine Corps spokeswoman.
Around 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time Tuesday the two planes were conducting an air-to-air refueling when they collided, causing the F-35B to crash into the ground near Ocotillo Wells, California, after the pilot successfully ejected, Nikki Gallegos, a Marine Corps spokeswoman, told Marine Corps Times in a Thursday email.
The KC-130J was able to safely conduct an emergency landing near Thermal California, Marine Corps Times previously reported.
The F-35B belonged to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-121 based out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, while the KC-130J Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron-352 based out of Marine Corps Air station Miramar, California, Gallegos said.
Both planes were taking part in the seven-week Weapons and Tactics Instructors course conducted out of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, designed to get Marine pilots familiar with flying in support of the Marine ground element, Gallegos said.
The exact cause of the accident is currently unknown but is under investigation, Gallegos said.