The US military said that an American F-16 fighter jet had a “in-flight emergency” over the West Sea off the coast of South Korea and crashed early on Wednesday. The pilot had been rescued.
The military released a statement saying, “An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing here experienced an in-flight emergency over the West Sea and crashed at approximately 8:41am (2341 GMT) today.”
At about nine in the morning, the pilot was safely recovered after ejecting. He was taken to a medical facility for evaluation while still conscious.
The declaration praised South Korea’s close cooperation with the rescue effort.
Colonel Matthew C. Gaetke, commander of the 8th Fighter Wing, stated, “We are very thankful to the Republic of Korea rescue forces and all of our teammates who made the swift recovery of our pilot possible.”
He continued, “We will now concentrate on the search and recovery of the aircraft.”
The statement stated, “Details regarding the reason behind the in-flight emergency will not be disclosed until extensive safety and accident investigations are completed.”
The fighter jet crashed close to Mokdeok island, off the west coast of South Korea, according to the Korea Coast Guard.
Since May 2023, there have been three American F-16 fighter jet crashes in South Korea.
December saw the crash of a US F-16 fighter jet during a routine training exercise, which the US military described as “an in-flight emergency.” And that pilot was saved.
A US F-16 jet crashed in May of last year in a farming area south of Seoul while conducting a routine training exercise. There were no additional casualties from the accident, and the pilot safely ejected.
Washington, which has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea to help defend it against the nuclear-armed North, is Seoul’s most significant security ally.
Following a fatal crash that claimed the lives of eight US airmen, the US military declared late last year that it was grounding its fleet of V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in neighboring Japan.