South Korean pilot safe after fighter-jet takeoff crash
Stars and Stripes September 21, 2023
SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean air force KF-16 fighter crashed Thursday morning shortly after takeoff at a base in Seosan city, about 60 miles southwest of Seoul, according to an air force spokesman.
The KF-16 from the 20th Fighter Wing crashed just after at 8:20 a.m. inside Seosan Air Force Base as it departed for a routine flight, the spokesman told Stars and Stripes by phone on Thursday.
South Korean officials regularly speak to the media on the customary condition of anonymity.
The pilot, the only crew member, ejected from the aircraft and was checked out at a nearby hospital; no other injuries or damage to structures occurred, the spokesman said.
The KF-16 was not involved with a joint flight with the U.S. military at the time of the crash, he added.
The incident marks the second KF-16 crash in less than a year. On Nov. 20, a KF-16 pilot ejected from his aircraft before it crashed on a mountain near Wonju, about 50 miles southeast of Seoul, due to a maintenance error, air force officials said at the time.
KF-16s, a South Korean version of the U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon, regularly drill alongside U.S. fighters. The aircraft flew with South Korean F-35A Lightning IIs and U.S. Fighting Falcons near the peninsula’s west coast for a “rapid and flexible response” drill on July 28.
The KF-16 is manufactured under license in South Korea by defense contractor Korea Aerospace Industries.
Stars and Stripes reporter Yoo Kyong Chang contributed to this report.