U.S F-16 Fighter Jet Crashes Into Yellow Sea During Training (Photos)
A U.S. F-16 fighter has crashed into waters in the Yellow Sea off the coast of South Korea, stoking safety concerns after eight U.S. airmen were killed last month in the crash of an Osprey aircraft near a Japanese island.
The F-16 crashed into the sea Monday after taking off at about 9 a.m. from the city of Gunsan, some 180 kilometers south of Seoul, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing sources it did not identify. The pilot ejected and was conscious after being rescued from the sea, it said.
U.S. Forces Korea did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The crash of the Osprey off the southwestern island of Yakushima last month ultimately prompted the U.S. military to ground its entire fleet of several hundred of the aircraft to check for a possible equipment problem that may have been the cause of the accident, according to military officials.
Before the decision to ground the fleet, the Japanese government had called for U.S. military forces in the country to suspend use of the Osprey, which was made by a unit of Boeing and the Bell Helicopter unit of Textron, so that checks could be conducted.
The crash in Japan returned scrutiny to the Osprey, a tilt-rotor aircraft that can take off and land like a helicopter and fly like an airplane. Early years of setbacks and accidents — especially in 2000, when two crashes killed 23 Marines — triggered a major Pentagon review and subsequent design changes for the aircraft that served in Iraq and Afghanistan.