April 4, 2013 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A US Air Force F-16 has crashed near Bagram Air Field in eastern Afghanistan, killing the pilot, according to the NATO command that oversees day-to-day operations in Afghanistan.
The crash occurred on April 3, after a night flight over mountainous terrain, the ISAF
Joint Command announced in a news release. There was no indication of enemy fire in the area at the time of the Wednesday’s crash, in the east of the country.
The plane was on its final approach to land at Bagram Air Field after a routine air support mission around 11 p.m. when it lost contact with its wingman and the control tower, Air Force Central Command spokesperson Capt. Natassia Cherne said. It crashed 10 miles south of the runway.
The pilots' primary job in Afghanistan is to provide close-air support for U.S. and coalition troops on the ground.
The pilot's body has been recovered, and the crash site has been secured.
"While the cause of the crash is under investigation, initial reporting indicates there was no insurgent activity in the area at the time of the crash," the news release says.
The pilot has not yet been identified pending next-of-kin notification. Air Force officials confirmed however that the pilot belonged to the 77th "Gamblers" fighter squadron. This squadron from Shaw Air Force base, is serving a 6-month deployment to Bagram Air Base.