June 24, 2021

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Pilot dead after military aircraft crashes in Las Vegas residential area, authorities say

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LAS VEGAS — A pilot has died after taking off from Nellis Air Force Base Monday and crashing outside the southern edge of the base in a nearby Las Vegas residential area, authorities said.

The pilot has not been identified, according to authorities, and no other personnel were on board.

The aircraft was owned, operated and piloted by Draken US, a Florida company contracted to provide adversary air support to Nellis Air Force Base. 

“Draken has received news of a downed aircraft out of Nellis AFB and the tragic loss of one of our pilots,” the company said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people and families affected by this event.

The statement added: “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. Draken US is also cooperating with investigating agencies to determine what led to this tragic accident.” 

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Authorities reported the military aircraft “incident” that images showed included a fire Monday in a residential area not far from Nellis Air Force Base.

A base spokeswoman said she had no immediate information about the type of aircraft, whether there was a crash, the condition of a pilot or whether there were injuries to people on the ground.

Deputy Clark County Fire Chief Warren Whitney said fire crews were called to the area of Christy Lane, south of the air base. He did not provide details and or answer a follow-up telephone call.

Police closed off the area about 7 miles northeast of downtown Las Vegas, while some news crews reported that an aircraft had crashed.

Neighbors posted online images of a plume of smoke not far from a fence to the base, fire crews arriving and a helicopter circling the area.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak commented on the incident on Twitter Monday.

“Kathy and I are praying for all those involved in today’s incident — especially the men and women of [Nellis Air Force Base] and the first responders on the scene,” he wrote. 

The incident is under investigation, according to Nellis authorities. 

Contributing: Associated Press. 

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