U-2 Spy Plane Crashes in California, One Pilot Dead

U-2 (Central Press / Getty)
Central Press / Getty

A U-2 spy plane crashed in California Tuesday morning, killing one pilot and injuring another.

The plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Beale Air Force Base in Sutter County for a training mission, KTXL reported.

The Air Force confirmed that pilots were ejected from the plane before the crash, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The plane crashed into pieces and started a grass fire that was 80 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon, Sutter County Fire Chief John Shalowitz told the Bee.

The U-2, also known as the Dragon Lady, is an aircraft that is used for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes.  It became famous during the Cold War, when pilot Francis Gary Powers crashed in the Soviet Union and was taken prisoner.

Nearly 20 years ago to the day, another U-2 spy plane crashed in Northern California.

On Aug. 7, 1996, a U-2 spy plane fell from the sky and crashed into the parking lot of the Oroville Mercury-Register newspaper, CBS Sacramento reported.

The crash killed the pilot and a woman in the parking lot. The building also suffered a significant amount of damage, causing the Mercury-Register to move its operations.