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A remote-controlled plane crashed near Camp Casey on Thursday night during what U.S. Forces Korea officials described as a routine training mission.

The Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle’s engine probably failed soon after its 10:30 p.m. takeoff. The cause of the accident remained under investigation, according to a USFK news release.

The plane crashed into the tree-covered mountains north of the base and has yet to be recovered, said 8th Army spokesman Lt. Col. B.J. Bailey.

“We have a fix on where we lost contact,” Bailey said. “It’s tough terrain out there, but it’s only a matter of time.”

The Shadow 200 costs about $275,000, according to the globalsecurity.org Web site.

The Army suspended Shadow flights in South Korea in October 2003 when one of the planes, which had been acquired weeks before, crashed by a river near Dongducheon. Flights resumed the following month.

Bailey said that as of early Friday evening, there was no plan to ground the UAVs.

The Army routinely flies unmanned aerial vehicles in South Korea and avoids flying the planes in populated areas, coordinating flights with local authorities and flight controllers, according to the news release.

The Shadow 200The Shadow 200 is manufactured by AAI Corp., a Hunt Valley, Md.-based company. It’s built from composite materials and powered by a 38-horsepower rotary gasoline engine.

In its standard configuration, the 11.2-foot plane weighs 327 pounds without fuel and has a wingspan of about 14 feet. It can carry 45 to 60 pounds of payload, which usually includes surveillance equipment, according to the AAI Web site.

The remote control maximum range is nearly 80 miles and the plane can fly up to 19,000 feet, according to AAI.

Its operations are generally conducted from 8,000 to 10,000 feet above ground level during the day and 6,000 to 8,000 feet above ground level at night, according to globalsecurity.org.

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