Tactical

US pilot safely ejects before F-16 crashes off South Korean coast

A U.S. Air Force pilot safely ejected from an F-16 fighter jet that crashed into waters off the west coast of South Korea on Wednesday. It is the second such crash in less than two months.

The unidentified pilot was conscious and was transported to a medical facility for assessment, the U.S. 8th Fighter Wing said in a statement. Unit officials said its personnel worked closely with U.S. and South Korean mission partners to recover the pilot, who experienced an unspecified in-flight emergency and ejected before the plane crashed into sea.

The cause of the crash, which reportedly occurred near the port city of Seosan, is under investigation. There were no immediate reports of casualties or property damage caused by the crash.

“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,” said Col. Matthew C. Gaetke, the wing’s commander. “Now we will shift our focus to search and recovery of the aircraft.”

The 8th Fighter Wing, which is composed of two F-16 squadrons, previously experienced an F-16 crash in December. In that incident, the pilot experienced problems during a routine training flight and was safely recovered after ejecting from the aircraft before it crashed into the sea near the port city of Gunsan.

The incidents in South Korea follow a Nov. 29 crash of a U.S. Air Force Osprey aircraft during a training mission off the coast of Japan. All eight people on board were killed in the crash.

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