September 21, 2003 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Air Force investigators determined an F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed after at least one Spot-billed Duck was ingested into the engine, resulting in catastrophic engine failure, according to a report released Sept. 18.
The May 29 crash happened off the end of the runway at Osan Air Base, South Korea
The mishap pilot was the wingman in a two-ship formation on a night-training mission at the time of the accident. The pilot and a Korean on the ground were slightly injured in the crash.
According to the report, shortly after taking off, the pilot said he saw a grayish object flash in front of him followed by a loud band and an apparent fire in front of his aircraft. The pilot then experienced severe deceleration causing him to be thrown forward in the cockpit. He initiated emergency procedures for an engine fire by raising the nose of his aircraft and releasing his external fuel tanks. After assessing that the engine was not responding properly to his throttle inputs, the pilot ejected safely approximately 12 seconds after liftoff. The aircraft was destroyed upon impact.