A pilot died Monday morning after a CF-18 fighter jet crashed near Cold Lake, Alta., the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force confirmed.
A CF-188 Hornet, commonly known as a CF-18, from 4 Wing Cold Lake crashed inside the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in Saskatchewan at 11:09 a.m.
Public affairs officer Mathew Strong said emergency crews were sent to the site, which is not far from the Primrose Lake Evaluation Range.
There is no word yet on the identity of the pilot or the cause of the incident.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family,” Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan said Monday afternoon.
WATCH: Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan confirmed a CF-18 jet crashed near CFB Cold Lake. Sajjan confirmed the pilot was killed in the crash.
“It’s too preliminary to make any type of judgement, any conclusion. The best thing we can do right now is give the Air Force and the Canadian Armed Forces the space to do the necessary work.”
The mayor of Cold Lake called it a sad day for everyone in the proud military community.
WATCH BELOW: ‘We’ve lost a pilot’: Cold Lake mayor talks tragedy of losing pilot to CF-18 jet crash
“We are a military town, a fighter town and every day when the men and women go up in the air – whether it’s a helicopter, transport plane or CF-18 – they’re putting their life at risk,” Craig Copeland said.
“Everybody in Cold Lake and across Canada will be grieving the loss of the pilot,” he said. “Everybody in Cold Lake will be there to support the 4 Wing family.”
Watch below: Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan spoke Monday about a CF-18 fighter jet crash near Cold Lake, Alta. (This video was captured before the Air Force confirmed the pilot was killed).
The director of flight safety with the Department of National Defence will lead the investigation to determine the cause of the crash.
The Cold Lake base is the busiest flight base in Canada and provides fighter pilot training for all Canadian Forces pilots.
Since Canada began using the CF-18s in the 1980s, 20 jets have crashed and 10 people have died.
“That’s actually a very good standard,” Robert Huebert, with the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary, said. “Because out of the 140 aircrafts that we’ve had in total since 1984, you start factoring that out and that’s not too bad.”
–With files from Caley Ramsay