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F-35 crashes off of airfield near Albuquerque airport

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(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) — A military aircraft has crashed off of the airfield at the Albuquerque International Sunport, the primary international airport in New Mexico, officials said.

The only person on board, the pilot, was conscious and taken to University of New Mexico Hospital with serious injuries, according to airport officials and Albuquerque Fire Rescue.

As of Tuesday evening, the pilot was in stable condition, according to a press release from Kirtland Air Force Base.

Two civilians were evaluated at the scene and neither person was transported, fire officials said.

The downed aircraft was a new F-35, a U.S. official told ABC News. A Defense Contract Management Agency pilot was flying the aircraft, which was being transferred from a Lockheed Martin factory to be handed over to the service, at the time of the crash, the official said.

Lockheed Martin said the F-35B was en route from Fort Worth, Texas, to Edwards Air Force Base in California when it crashed after refueling at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

“The pilot safely ejected,” Lockheed Martin said in a statement. “Safety is our priority, and we will follow appropriate investigation protocol.”

The fire at the scene has been extinguished, officials added.

“Flight operations have resumed, but check with your airline for flight status,” airport officials said.

“Grateful for the rapid action of the first responders,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller wrote on social media. “Praying for the pilot.”

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