F-16 CRASH: Debris field could be 8-10 miles long; don't touch it

- The debris field could extend 8 to 10 miles from the place where an F-16 crashed in Clinton, Maryland on Wednesday morning, and officials are warning anyone who comes across possible debris from the plane not to touch anything.

Prince George's County Fire and EMS spokesperson Mark Brady said the crash site is about 40 yards long and 40 yards wide, but there may also be debris scattered that is not associated with the impact site. This may mean there was debris coming off of the plane before it actually crashed.

LATEST DETAILS: Pilot ejects before F-16 crashes in Clinton, Maryland

Lt. Col. Lisa Mabbutt said the debris is not believed to be a danger to the public, but they want to recover the debris for their investigation.

"Part of our recovery is to go and mark those things, assess the damage and that is why we ask the public to call those things in," said Mabbutt.

"We do know the pilot jettisoned external wing tanks, which was done in order to reduce the drag and the weight of the aircraft in case he was able to make it back to the runway," said Brigadier Gen. George Degnon, the acting adjutant general for the District of Columbia Air National Guard. "That might lead to the expanded cordon as there are fuel tanks as well. That is also a safety concern for the folks out there with the pieces of airplane, fuel and carbon fibers and those types of things. It is for the public's safety that we are concerned about -- that cordon [area]."

Lt. Col. Mabbutt said the fuel tanks have been located.

However, the military is asking for anyone who locates target practice projectiles to contact them immediately. They warn the projectiles do carry a propellant and should not be exposed to electromagnetic radiation, cell phones, radios and other electronic devices.

Officials say the debris field could extend 8 to 10 miles from the crash site, starting in the area of National Harbor, Maryland. The map below shows the crash site, and a location in Fort Washington, Maryland where possible debris has also been discovered. 

FOX 5 DC reporter Alexandra Limon was at a location in Fort Washington where possible debris was found. She reported a heavy smell of jet fuel in the area, and authorities were on the scene, surrounding the possible debris with caution tape. Limon reported it looked like pieces of the jet-- large chunks of metal-- which landed in residents' yards. Heavy police and fire department presence was seen in the area of Potomac Valley Drive and Potomac Valley Court. 

Residents in the area say they heard a lot of noise and a loud boom, and when they went outside, they saw debris in their yards. Officials say it's unclear if there was any explosion before the crash, but two residents told FOX 5 DC they heard a boom. No evacuations were being ordered in the area. 

Anyone who sees possible debris from the plane is warned not to touch it, and instead, to immediately call Joint Base Andrews Operations Center at 301-981-2002, 240-857-8685, 240-612-4428 or 240-612-4430. You may also call 911 to report any possible debris-- but again, don't touch it. 

Watch: Video shows F-16 pilot parachuting to safely as jet crashes (app users: click here to watch)

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

More Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories