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TuAF F-16 crashes - Pilot lost

April 15, 2009 (by Asif Shamim) - A TUAF F-16 crashed yesterday during a training flight in a forest area located in the M. Kemalpaşa district. Wreckage has been recovered and government officials have announced that the pilot was killed.

Approximately six hours after the crash, Search and recovery teams have arrived in the area and located the wreckage approximately 20 kilometres from the Muradiye Sarnıç village.

The governor of Balikesir province says the F-16 pilot identified to be a First Lieutenant Fatih Korçam's did not survive.

The F-16 departed from Balikesir AB at approximately 21.00h local time during a night training exercise. Shortly after it left the local region contact was lost with no signature on radar.

Local villagers reported that wreckage had been found around 21.45h. The Balikesir Province Police Commander, General Colonel Mehmet Turhal arrived at the scene. According to the information received, the plane had broken into pieces that were spread across a five kilometre region, with the biggest piece of the plane no bigger than one meter length.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Balikesir is a hub for Turkish jets, which often engage with Greek warplanes in the disputed air space of Aegean Sea.