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Jet Crashes, Pilot Dies at Air Show

Posted May. 06, 2006 03:06,   


A combat plane crashed and exploded during an air show held at the Suwon Airbase on Children’s Day. Some 2,300 spectators were at the air show, but fortunately the location of the plane crash was far from the audience and a major accident was avoided.

The A-37 jet belonging to the Korean Air Force’s “Black Eagle” aerobatics flight team crashed into the airbase runway around 11:55 a.m. on May 5.

Captain Kim Do-hyeon (age 33), the plane’s pilot, died on the spot and the plane was totally destroyed. The fighter crashed into the grass field between the main and sub runways about 1.8 kilometers from the audience.

The accident happened during a stunt where two fighter planes, at a height of 400 meters, flew toward each other from 300 meters away, rotated 360 degrees and ascended vertically. During this vertical ascent, called a “knife-edge,” one of the planes could not make the ascent and crashed.

An official of the air force said, “The pilot was doing aerobatics while the plane was accelerating, and we believe that he could not make an emergency exit and tried to control the plane until the last moment as he judged that the plane could fall into the audience.”

The destructed plane was confirmed to be a training aircraft of the aviation team at Wonju made in 1969.

The air force blocked access to the accident scene and is investigating.

Some 2,300 people, including family members of military personnel, citizens and children, visited the airbase to see the air show starting at 11:00 a.m. that day.

This is the second time a Black Eagle jet has crashed since 1998 when two jets collided during an aerobatics practice in Chuncheon and one crashed.

Kyung-Hyun Nam Min-Hyuk Park bibulus@donga.com mhpark@donga.com