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F-16 fighter jet from Luke Air Force Base crashes in Arizona desert; both pilots eject safely

An F-16 fighter jet crashed near Luke Air Force Base in suburban Phoenix on Wednesday evening, but both pilots ejected safely, authorities said.

The jet went down just before 7 p.m. in a desert area about 3 miles west of the airfield, said officials at the base.

Both pilots suffered minor injuries, Sgt. Linda Rainey said. Their names weren't immediately released.

Glendale Fire Department officials said the two pilots were seen walking around after the crash and were taken to Luke Air Force Base Hospital for further evaluation.

There was no immediate word on what might have caused the crash, Rainey said.

Witnesses said they heard the jet's engine sputtering and popping just before the plane went down. Video from a TV helicopter showed plumes of smoke rising from the crash scene.

Luke Air Force Base, about 15 miles west of Phoenix, is the world's largest F-16 training base.

In March 1999, the Air Force temporarily suspended all F-16 fighter flights at Luke after one of the jets crashed in the desert. At the time, it was the fifth such accident at Luke since October 1998.

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