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USAF F-16 crashes into Yellow Sea; pilot rescued after ejecting safely

December 11, 2023 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A U.S. F-16 pilot safely ejected from his jet before it crashed into the Yellow Sea off South Korea's southwestern coast on Monday.

The Viper driver was recovered by Republic of Korea Maritime Forces, and reported as “awake and in stable conditions” and being returned to his homebase to be evaluated further.

Kunsan Air Base, located in Gunsan, South Korea, said in a statement that an F-16 assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing experienced an in-flight emergency at approximately 08:43h local time on Monday, prompting the pilot to eject himself from the aircraft.

The pilot was recovered by the Republic of Korea Maritime Forces in awake and stable condition.

The crash marks the second public U.S. F-16 mishap in South Korea this year as in May, an F-16 of the U.S. 51st Fighter Wing crashed into farmland near Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 60 kilometers south of Seoul. At the time, the pilot escaped safely and no civilian casualties were reported.

On average, about three American F-16s are totaled and one person is killed in Fighting Falcon accidents each year, according to Air Force Safety Center data.