A RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet, operated by 1 Squadron, suffered a low-speed runway excursion from RAAF Amberley (YAMB), Queensland. Both pilots ejected safely. The aircraft sustained substantial damage to the cockpit. Apparently, there was a fire inside the cockpit.
The aircraft was taking off along with seven other aircraft when it suffered what some local media have reported as an engine failure.
As a consequence, the aircrew ejected while the aircraft ran off the runway where it came to a halt.
Images taken by bystanders and published by Australian media outlets show the Super Hornet with a collapsed nose gear in the grass beside the tarmac.
Both pilots are safe according to official sources and, needless to say, the cause of the incident will be investigated.
“The aircrew of that aircraft are safe and no other personnel were involved in the incident,” a Defence spokeswoman said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Defence’s first priority is the safety of personnel at RAAF Base Amberley.”
Footage obtained by Nine News from about 2.30pm showed the crew landing in their parachutes and the jet with its cockpit jettisoned.
The cause of the accident is unknown and an investigation is under way.
However, a defence expert said it appeared to be caused by the collapse of nose-landing gear.