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Danish F-16 plunges into North Sea after pilot safely ejected

October 27, 2015 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A Danish F-16 pilot was forced to eject when his F-16A block 20 MLU crashed into the North Sea off the coast of the western island of Rømø at around 14.00h on Tuesday.

RDAF F-16AM #E-070 being towed across an Aalborg AB taxiway on September 26th, 2003. [Photo by Erik Frikke]

The pilot from Eskadrille 727 at Skrydstrup Air Base successfully used his ejection seat and was picked up by a Royal Danish Air Force helicopter. The pilot did not suffer any major injuries. The parachute and inflatable life raft worked flawlessly.

Early reports state that the jet (#83-1070) had a problem with the landing gear which posed too much of a risk to safely land. After going trough a checklist procedure with experts at the ground to pinpoint and possibly solve the issue the jet got too low on fuel and they had to give up on the aircraft in a controlled crash.

The Danish Defence Command did not give a reason for the crash, saying that it was still gathering all available information.

“The most important thing for me is that the pilot is in good health. Our pilots are trained for this, but it is an intense experience and he will get all of the support he needs,” Anders Rex, the head of Fighter Wing Skrydstrup, said in a statement.

The crash of an RDAF F-16 dates from 2001 when #78-0178 crashed into the North Sea during an air combat maneuvering (ACM) training.

He also says that the pilot flew around for more than an hour after the error was discovered. Here he tried with experts on the ground to solve the problem, but eventually they had to give up all.

Additional images:

RDAF F-16AM #E-070 from Esk. 727 is turning towards the camera at Aalborg AFB on July 31st, 2012. [Photo by Erik Frikke]

RDAF F-16AM #E-070 from Esk. 730 is parked in the static at Skrydstrup AB on June 5th, 2010. [Photo by Erik Frikke]

RDAF F-16AM, #E-070, shot from a Dutch KDC-10 tanker [Photo by Nick Clark]