A Canadian forces CF-18 fighter jet crashed at the Lethbridge County airport Friday afternoon.

CTV News has learned the jet was flying at a low altitude before it crashed at the airport at around 12:20 p.m.

Officials report the pilot hit the ground hard. Capt. Brian Bews, who is stationed out of 3 Wing from CFB in Bagotville, Quebec was taken to hospital in Calgary and is being treated for a sore back and scraped up arms.

The pilot successfully ejected just moments before the jet went down during a practice session for the Alberta International Air Show, which begins Saturday. 

"Large fireball burst out the side -- the pilot did eject safely but was dragged several hundred feet along the ground," said witness Darren Jansens.

The jet was doing a low speed pass about 300 yards from the terminal, and the captain was only 100 metres above the ground when he ejected.

The crash is now under investigation. It's not known whether the jet ran into trouble landing during mid-air maneuvering or on take-off or landing.

The fighter jet has been used by the Canadian Forces since 1982.

The Alberta International Air Show will go ahead as planned, but the CF-18 aerial demonstration will be grounded.

With files from Erin Isfeld, CTV Calgary and CTV.ca