U.S. Fighter Jet Crashes off South Korea’s Coast, Again

An F-16 takes off at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, Jan. 19, 2024. CREDIT: Staff Sgt. Samuel Earick—U.S. Air Force

A U.S. Air Force pilot successfully ejected from his F-16 fighter jet before it plunged into the sea near South Korea on Wednesday, as confirmed by U.S. military authorities. This incident marks the second such crash within a month.

According to the U.S. 8th Fighter Wing, the pilot, whose identity remains undisclosed, was flying over waters off the southwestern coast of the country when an unspecified “in-flight emergency” occurred, leading to the crash at approximately 8:41 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

Within less than an hour, rescue teams retrieved the pilot, who remained conscious, and transported him to a medical facility for evaluation. No casualties or property damage resulting from the crash have been reported thus far, and an investigation into the cause is underway.

Colonel Matthew C. Gaetke, commander of the 8th Fighter Wing, expressed gratitude to the Republic of Korea’s rescue forces and collaborative efforts in swiftly recovering the pilot. Attention now turns to locating and salvaging the aircraft.

This incident follows another F-16 crash from the 8th Fighter Wing in December, where the pilot also safely ejected during a routine training exercise. Additionally, the previous month witnessed a tragic accident when a U.S. Air Force Osprey aircraft crashed off the coast of Japan during a training mission, resulting in the loss of all eight crew members onboard.

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