Pilot ejects himself from burning F-16 during takeoff at Ellington Field

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Officials said the pilot ejected himself from the jet during takeoff.

A pilot ejected himself from an F-16 carrying air missiles after it caught fire at Ellington Field in Texas.

According to the Houston Airport System, the jet caught fire in the process of taking off.

Because the F-16 was carrying air-to-air missiles, an evacuation zone was set up around the site. Beltway 8 was closed Wednesday afternoon between Crenshaw and Old Galveston Road during the investigation but was later reopened by the evening commute.

Some businesses were also told to close, including a convenience store and a McDonald's at the corner of Red Bluff Road and the Beltway.

According to Continental U.S. NORAD, the plane and presumably the pilot are attached to the 138th fighter wing out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The plane and pilot were on a training mission attached to Operation Noble Eagle, which was established after Sept. 11 to create an air defense shield for the U.S.

The evacuation order was expected to continue through the evening rush hour commute.

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ABC13 viewer cell phone video of smoke billowing from Ellington Airport after pilot ejects from burning F-16



The Houston Fire Department was called to the scene to assist with the incident.

ABC7 sister station KTRK-TV's SkyEye was over the scene showing what appeared to be the jet in the grass.

PHOTOS: Scene at Ellington Field after pilot ejected himself from burning jet


The condition of the pilot was not immediately known. He was taken to the hospital.

The airport was shut down as crews investigated.


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