F-15D Eagle fell into irrigation canal after landing mishap at Oregon base
Stars and Stripes May 17, 2023
An F-15D Eagle that left the runway while landing Monday at a West Coast air base ended up in an irrigation channel, according to the 173rd Fighter Wing.
A photograph provided by the wing the day after the mishap shows the tactical jet partially submerged with its nose embedded in the channel bank at Kingsley Field, an Air National Guard base in Klamath Falls, Ore.
“The aircraft was returning to base following a routine training mission,” the wing said in a statement Tuesday.
The fighter landed at approximately 3:15 p.m., left the paved surface and came to a stop in a Bureau of Reclamation irrigation canal at the south side of the runway, according to the statement.
“We don’t believe the aircraft is leaking any petroleum products based on our initial assessment of the water in the canal,” Col. Micah Lambert, the wing’s vice commander, said in the statement. “Minimizing the environmental impact is one of our main priorities; we have taken precautionary measures and placed absorbent booms around the aircraft to prevent the flow of fuel, or other substances, downstream in the event there is a leakage.”
The unit will continue tests to detect if there is fuel in the water, Lambert said.
The instructor pilot aboard the aircraft exited safely with minor injuries and was evaluated as a precaution at Sky Lakes Medical Center. He has since been released, according to the statement.
“We are so grateful that our pilot was able to walk away from this mishap,” Lambert said. “Our Team Kingsley responders acted quickly and with professionalism thanks to the extensive training and safety mindset of our team.”
The wing is working with local authorities and federal agencies, including the Bureau of Reclamation, to ensure the aircraft is safely removed from the canal, Lambert said.
A board of officers has been assigned to investigate the mishap landing, according to the wing’s statement.
The 173rd’s mission involves training F-15 pilots under Air Education and Training Command, according to the unit’s official website.
A number of F-15C/D fighters from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, were sent to Kingsley Field starting in December, according to a news release by the 173rd that month. Two F-15 squadrons at Kadena — nearly 50 fighters — are being phased out over two years and replaced by rotational fighters.