October 9, 2013 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A Chilean F-16A block 20 crashed landed at Antofagasta’s Cerro Moreno International Airport (ANF) in Northern Chile today during the early hours. One of the tires blew out during takeoff forcing the pilot - who is unharmed - to make an emergency landing.
FACh F-16AM #730 is seen accelerating for take-off during a aerial display for the CoC of the Chilean AF from SCL airport (Santiago) on November 3rd, 2006. [Photo by Andres Contador
The runway remained closed to traffic for about three hours while the plane was removed and recovered.
The accident happened at 05.35h when the pilot experienced difficulties shortly after take-off. Grainy footage, shot by airport surveillance cameras, shows an explosion as the jet crash lands.
According to an official statement released by the Chilean Air Force (FACh
), the pilot escaped unharmed and the jet suffered only “minor damage.” No one else was involved in the incident and an investigation is underway.
The statement reports that one of the F-16’s tires burst while the unnamed pilot from the Fifth Air Brigade was taking-off, forcing him to initiate an emergency landing on the runway. An emergency services unit was deployed and the report notes also state that the emergency maneuver was “successful.”
As a result, many commercial flights to and from the airport have been temporarily suspended, leaving hundreds of people stranded at ANF and other airports. The Fifth Air Brigade’s headquarters are located at the Cerro Moreno Air Base, which shares runways with ANF. At 09.30h., FACh staff started to remove the jet from the runway in an effort to return regular service to the airport.
In March 2012, an F-16B MLU
of the FACh encountered a problem during landing at Cerro Moreno. Hydraulic failure prevented the landing gear from being extended, forcing the aircraft to perform a belly landing
. That incident forced the intervention of firefighters to prevent a possible fire. None of the two pilots were injured.
has three F-16 squadrons with so far still a total of 46 F-16 jets.