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Korean F-16 Crashes; Pilot Survives

Posted January. 28, 2006 04:08,   


An F-16C fighter jet from the Korean Air Force’s 19th Fighter Squadron based in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province crashed at about 9:50 a.m. yesterday.

The fighter went down inside the unit`s base right after taking off for a training mission, an Air Force spokesperson said.

The pilot escaped and sustained only minor injuries.

The air force suspects that poor maintenance or engine failure caused the crash, based on eyewitness reports of a flame emanating from the rear of the jet just before the crash.

In September 2002, an F-16D fighter jet, a two-seater version of the F-16C, crashed in the mountains near the Air Force’s Nakdong shooting range in Sangju, North Gyeongsang Province after its engine failed in midair.

Yesterday’s crash is the fourth F-16 imported from the United States lost by the Republic of Korea Air Force since it began operating the aircraft in the early 1980s.

“The accident did not caused any civilian damage, and the accident management committee is investigating the exact cause of the crash,” an Air Force spokesperson said. “All F-16C and F-16D training flights have been grounded until the cause is identified."

The air force will keep F-16s in the air on patrol and alert force duty, however.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com