CLINTON, Md. - A town hall meeting is being held to address issues and concerns a week after a fighter pilot on a training mission ditched his jet in a wooded area to avoid crashing into a Prince George's County neighborhood.
The F-16C, which military officials said was at least 30 years old and worth $20 million, went down about 200 yards behind a small subdivision of two-story brick homes in the middle-class suburban community of Clinton, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) southwest of Joint Base Andrews.
The pilot was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital, said Lt. Col. Michael Corker, the pilot's commanding officer. No one else was injured.
The cause of the crash is being investigated. The pilot tried to turn back toward the base after encountering trouble but wasn't able to make it in time. The pilot decided to jettison the fighter's extra fuel tanks before ejecting when he was about half a mile off the ground.
After the crash, authorities said the debris field was between 8 to 10 miles long and asked anyone who came in contact with pieces of the plane to contact them at 301-981-2002, 240-857-8685, 240-612-4428 or 240-612-4430.
Authorities say a jet fuel smell may still be in the area but no harmful concentrations that would put the community at risk have been found. Air, soil, and water testing will also be done as the investigation continues. Crews are still at the crash site conducting clean up operations.
"Although we lost an aircraft, we are extremely thankful that no one was harmed," said Colonel E. John Teichert III, JBA and 11th Wing Commander, in a statement. "We are also sincerely grateful for the community, as well as the local government and first responders. Our friends, neighbors, and colleagues in Prince George's County proved yet again why we are fortunate to be a part of this community."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.