An Air Force F-4E fighter jet crashed in the Yellow Sea on Friday due to its engine catching fire during flight. The two pilots made an emergency escape and were unharmed.
According to the Air Force, an F-4E crashed 9km south of Jeongok Port in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province around 12:20 p.m. on the same day. The jet took off from Suwon Base at 11:41 a.m. and was returning to base after carrying out its mission. "After finding that the engine was on fire, the two pilots turned to the shoreline where there were no civilian residencies, and made an emergency escape," the Air Force said.
The jet in question is one of the well-known fighter jet models introduced decades ago in 1979, and about 20 are currently still in operation. The Air Force plans to retire the F-4E around 2024 after operating them for another three years. However, after the crash of six F-4E jets since 2000, some raise concerns that these jets should be retired earlier.
In January, the crash of an F-5E fighter jet operated at the same base during takeoff killed the pilot Major Sim Jeong-min. The cause of the accident has been found to be corrosion of fuel conduit in the engine of the 36-year-old fighter jet.
Following the accident, the Air Force suspended flights of all types except for reconnaissance and emergency standby forces. In particular, flights of the F-4E aircraft will be suspended until the cause of the accident is identified. In addition, an accident countermeasure committee chaired by Yoon Byung-ho, deputy chief of staff of the Air Force, has been formulated to investigate the cause of the accident, including possible engine defects.
Sang-Ho Yun firstname.lastname@example.org