Aircraft associated with Nellis crashes into residential neighborhood

A Draken International aircraft based Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., crashed near the base at approximately 2:30 p.m. local time, May 24.

Clark County Fire Department has said the pilot died in the crash.

“Draken has received news of a downed aircraft out of Nellis AFB and the tragic loss of one of our pilots,” said Draken in a posted statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people and families affected by this event. We are doing everything in our power to assist them in this time of need, and we are working closely with federal, state and local authorities.”

Nellis initially reported that “We are aware of an incident involving an aircraft associated with Nellis Air Force Base. We will provide updates as they become available.” The base later posted a statement on social media stating the aircraft was “contractor operated.”

The plane crashed in a residential yard at 2245 N. Christy Lane, near Judson Avenue, about three miles south of the base. Witnesses have reported heavy smoke in the area following the crash.

Students at a nearby elementary school were under a temporary ‘shelter-in-place’ order immediately following the crash, however students have since been released from that order.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak tweeted, “Kathy and I are praying for all those involved in today’s incident — especially the men and women of [Nellis AFB] and the first responders on the scene.”

And Nevada U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto said, “”Monitoring the incident [at Nellis AFB] closely. Thinking of the men and women serving and their families.”

The incident is under investigation, and the company “is also cooperating with investigating agencies to determine what led to this tragic accident.”

In 2015, Draken won a short contract to provide adversary support (aggressors) and augment the U.S. air Force’s F-16 aggressor fleet at Nellis. Under that initial contract, Draken flew at Nellis from Nov.30 to Dec. 19, 2015, then returned to fly April-June of 2016.

In June 2018, the company was awarded in indefinite-quantity contract that is scheduled to end by December 2023.

Draken, headquartered in Lakeland, Fla., flies A-4K Skyhawks that were formerly with the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The jets are equipped with advanced radar, counter measures, and equipment needed to replicate a variety of fourth-generation threats, according to the company.

More information will be published as it becomes available.

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