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NTSB: Pilot turned failing jet to desert before Nellis crash |

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NTSB: Pilot turned failing jet to desert before Nellis crash

Investigators say a civilian contractor pilot who ejected from a Vietnam War-era military jet near Nellis Air Force Base last month steered the failing aircraft toward the desert before it crashed.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the pilot reported the Douglas A-4K Skyhawk lost power approaching a runway before he parachuted safely away Aug. 18. Officials said he wasn't seriously injured.

The pilot wasn't identified by the military or his employer, Draken International of Lakeland, Florida.

Company chief executive Sean Gustafson declined Tuesday to comment.

The NTSB preliminary report says the aircraft crashed and burned about a mile north of Nellis. No one on the ground was injured.

The pilot was returning after portraying enemy aircraft in an air combat role-playing exercise over the Nevada Test and Training Range.