— SFChronicle (@sfchronicle) September 20, 2016
The aircraft crashed in Sutter County. The U-2 was from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing stationed at nearby Beale Air Force Base, some 48 miles north of Sacramento.
Military officials did not initially reveal what caused the crash.
Witnesses spotted two parachutes carrying people and a third carrying their gear, KCRA reported.
The U-2 is a high-altitude spy plane which routinely flies at 70,000 feet to take photos and intercept communications. Its pilots wear pressurized flight suit similar to astronauts.
In 1960, a U-2 was shot down in Soviet airspace leading to the capture of Francis Gary Powers. He returned to the United States in a prisoner swap with the Soviet Union two years later. [Lucas Tomlinson]