F-16 Fighting Falcon News

F-16 mid-air collision blamed for crash in Belgium

December 11, 2003 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Yesterday it was confirmed that the Belgian F-16 accident that led to the death of a pilot was caused by a mid-air collision. The collision between two F-16s happened at 11.30am on Tuesday above the village of Havelange, near Marche-en-Famenne.
The body of 40-year-old Lieutenant-Colonel Ronny Vaerten was found in the debris of his cockpit, while 22-year-old Lieutenant Wouter Rombouts managed to eject from his aircraft before impact and was found strapped into his parachute and hanging from a tree. He suffered minor injuries.

Vaerten was one of the 31 Sqn/10th Tactical Wing's most experienced pilots. Questions are being asked as to why his ejector seat did not function.

No one on the ground was hurt and the village had only slight damage, with parts of the aircrafts' fuselages falling on several roofs as well as the local school.