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06:41 AM, May 17, 2019
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An F-16 fighter jet crashed into a warehouse just outside March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California on May 16, 2019 (KABC-TV via AP)

A Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter crashed into a warehouse during a routine training exercise just outside March Air Reserve Base in Southern California on Thursday. Pilot of the aircraft ejected safely while five civilians were reported injured, military officials said.

"The warplane went down at about 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time and slammed into a warehouse at the end of the base runway," base spokesman Major Perry Covington told Reuters.

"The pilot did eject and the pilot is OK," he added.

The extent of the injuries was unclear and the pilot was reportedly "transported to a local hospital for evaluation," officials with the United States Air Force Reserve said in a release late Thursday.

The F-16 was assigned to the 114th Fighter Wing, Souix Falls, South Dakota and was conducting a training mission for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), officials said. NORAD operations are designed to protect the air space of both the US and Canada and draws forces from both countries.

Officials said that the cause of the crash is under investigation.

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