Officials: Pilot safely ejected before plane crashed near Central California military base

Authorities say the pilot of a plane that crashed near a Central California military base ejected in midair and safely parachuted to the ground.

Kings County Fire Chief Bill Lynch tells The Sentinel newspaper in Hanford ( ) that the pilot walked to emergency responders after reaching the ground Monday afternoon.

The newspaper reports that the plane was an F-18 fighter jet.

California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Jobinger says it went down in a dirt field about 3 miles from Lemoore Naval Air Station.

Jobinger says a fire from the crash has been extinguished, and no roads have been closed.

Lemoore Naval Air Station, about 45 miles south of Fresno, is a center for the Navy's West Coast FA-18 fighter jet operations.