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A-10 pilot accidentally drops projectile while training in South Korea

A 25th Fighter Squadron A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot performs a pre-flight check prior to takeoff April 9, 2020, at Osan Air Base, South Korea.

DARIEN PEREZ/U.S. AIR FORCE

By MATTHEW KEELER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 27, 2020

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — An A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot inadvertently dropped a projectile outside a designated training area on Oct. 13, according to the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan.

The pilot from the 25th Fighter Squadron was on a routine training flight when he released the non-explosive projectile over rough, remote terrain just south of Pilsung Ragne in Gangwan Province, according to an emailed statement from wing spokesman 1st Lt. Daniel de La Fe.

The South Korean Ministry of Defense was immediately notified and a combined search and recovery team from the wing and South Korea swept the area from the air and ground, according to the statement.

“During the sweep, leadership from both the U.S. and [South Korean] sides determined that based on the terrain at the projected location of impact, there was not a significant threat to anyone and called the search off on Oct. 16,” de La Fe wrote.

De La Fe did not describe what type of projectile the Thunderbolt was carrying.

A safety investigation is underway, and the wing imposed “additional mitigation measures to reduce the likelihood of future incidents,” according to the statement.

The squadron at Osan operates nearly two dozen upgraded A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. In January, the wing completed installation of new aircraft wings that will extend the service life of the 45-year-old close-air-support aircraft for another 8,000 flight hours.

keeler.matthew@stripes.com
Twitter: @MattKeeler1231