F-16 crashed into Yellow Sea following in-flight emergency, Air Force says
Stars and Stripes December 11, 2023
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — An Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed Monday morning off South Korea’s western coast, according to the 8th Fighter Wing.
The fighter from Kunsan Air Base was flying over the Yellow Sea when it experienced an in-flight emergency at 8:43 a.m., the wing said in a news release Monday.
The pilot ejected and was rescued at sea by the South Korean navy and coast guard, 7th Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Rachel Buitrago told Stars and Stripes by phone Monday.
A South Korean air force helicopter airlifted the pilot to Kunsan, she added.
The pilot is awake and in stable condition, according to the news release.
“We are grateful for the safe recovery of our airman by our [South Korean] allies and that the pilot is in good condition,” wing commander Col. Matthew Gaetke said in the release.
No further details on the crash were provided; however, the wing’s release said “the incident will be thoroughly investigated.”
Kunsan, about 115 miles south of Seoul, is home to the 8th Fighter Wing, which operates roughly 30 F-16s.
The incident comes seven months after one of the wing’s F-16s crashed into a farmer’s field near Osan Air Base, 30 miles south of the capital, on May 6.
The pilot ejected and suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the wing said at the time. That incident prompted a three-day standdown of F-16 flights in South Korea.