USAF F-16 Crashes in Korea For Second Time This Year, Pilot OK

A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter crashed off the coast of South Korea on Dec. 11, according to local media reports and a statement from the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base. The pilot ejected from the aircraft and is in stable condition.

This marks the second USAF aircraft crash in the region recently—two weeks ago, an Air Force CV-22 Osprey caught fire and crashed off the southern Japanese coast on Nov. 29, killing all eight Airmen aboard. The Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy are all standing down operations for the tiltrotor aircraft as the Air Force investigates the cause of the crash.

This is also the second crash of an F-16 assigned to Kunsan this year. On May 6, a jet was flying a routine daytime training sortie when something went wrong and the pilot ejected near Osan Air Base, about 80 miles north of Kunsan. The fighter made a fiery impact in a local field, captured by local cameras.

The Air Force has yet to release an accident investigation report into what caused the May crash.

This latest incident took place over the Yellow Sea, which borders the west side of the Korean Peninsula and separates it from China. According to the 8th Fighter Wing, the jet suffered an in-flight emergency at about 8:43 a.m. local time. Yonhap News Agency reported that the jet had taken off from Kunsan.

The pilot ejected and was recovered by Republic of Korea Maritime Forces “awake and in stable condition,” the statement said. The pilot was then returned to Kunsan for further evaluation.

The base withheld the name of the pilot and additional details on his current condition.

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

The cause of the in-flight emergency is under investigation.