US fighter jet crashes into waters off South Korea

The pilot of the US military plane, the latest to crash in the Asia Pacific region, has been rescued.

F-16 Fighting Falcon
The F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing experienced an 'in-flight emergency', crashing into the Yellow Sea [File: Ints Kalnins/Reuters]

A US military fighter jet has ditched into the Yellow Sea off South Korea.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing was on a routine training flight on Monday when it experienced an “in-flight emergency” that sent it into the Yellow Sea, the US Air Force said in a statement.

The pilot has been rescued after ejecting, it said.

“The pilot ejected the aircraft. The pilot has been recovered by Republic of Korea Maritime Forces, awake and in stable condition,” the statement said, adding he would be evaluated further back at the the Kunsan Air Base.

“We are grateful for the safe recovery of our airman by our ROK Allies and that the pilot is in good condition,” said Colonel Matthew C Gaetke, the 8th Fighter Wing’s commander.

The cause of the malfunction is currently unknown. “The incident will be thoroughly investigated,” the air force statement said.

The airbase is located in South Korea’s west coast city of Gunsan. It is one of two main airbases used by the US military in the country, which hosts 28,500 US service members.

The crash was the second incident this year in and around South Korea involving an F-16 jet. In May, one aircraft crashed during a routine training exercise in a farming area south of Seoul. The pilot ejected safely and the accident caused no other casualties.

In neighbouring Japan, the US military announced last week that it was grounding its fleet of V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft following a deadly crash that killed eight US airmen.

Source: News Agencies