Pilot ejects himself from burning F-16 during takeoff

HOUSTON, Texas -- A pilot ejected himself from an F-16 carrying air missiles after it caught fire at Ellington Field.

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ABC13 viewer cell phone video of smoke billowing from Ellington Airport after pilot ejects from burning F-16

According to the Houston Airport System, the jet caught fire in the process of taking off.

Because the F-16 was carrying air-to-air missiles, an evacuation zone has been set up around the site and the Beltway 8 has been closed between Crenshaw and Old Galveston Road. Some businesses are being told to close, including a convenience store and McDonald's at the corner of Red Bluff Road and the Beltway.
PHOTOS: Scene at Ellington Field after pilot ejected himself from burning jet

According to Continental U.S. Norad, the plane and presumably the pilot are attached to the 138th fighter wing out of Tulsa. The plane and pilot were on a training mission attached to Operation Noble Eagle, which was established after 911 to create an air defense shield for the US.

The evacuation order may continue through the evening rush hour commute.

The Houston Fire Department has crews on the scene to assist with the incident.

SkyEye was over the scene showing what appeared to be the jet in the grass.

The condition of the pilot is unknown. He has been taken to the hospital.

The airport has been shut down as crews investigate.

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