Air Force F-16s fly again over South Korea; crash investigation underway near Osan

May 10—CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons resumed flights in South Korea on Tuesday, three days after one crashed in an agricultural field near Osan Air Base.

The F-16 went down during a training flight at 9:45 a.m. Saturday about 10 miles from Osan and nine miles from Camp Humphreys, according to the 51st Fighter Wing.

The pilot, whom the Air Force has not identified, ejected safely and is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries, wing spokesman Kim Dae Hwan said by email Tuesday. No other injuries were reported, he said.

The F-16 carried only simulated munitions for training, Kim said.

The Air Force resumed F-16 flights Tuesday after an initial crash investigation and a three-day stand-down to “refocus the team,” Kim said. A safety investigation is underway, and a recovery team has been working at the scene.

Recovering the aircraft wreckage may take time to ensure it does not compromise the safety investigation, Kim said.

“Understanding the cause of the incident is a top priority to ensure the safety of the F-16 fleet and operations moving forward,” he said.

The F-16 was assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, about 115 miles southwest of Seoul.

Around 30 F-16s from the wing were relocated to Osan in March while Kunsan’s runway undergoes routine repairs that are estimated to be complete in late August, wing spokeswoman Capt. Kaylin Hankerson said by email March 30.

U.S. F-16s are a mainstay of allied airpower in South Korea.

On April 14, four American F-16s and at least two B-52H Stratofortress bombers trained with four South Korean F-35A Lighting IIs. The drill took place one day after North Korea conducted its ninth ballistic missile test that prompted the Japanese government to warn residents in Hokkaido to seek shelter.

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