A U.S. F-16 fighter jet experienced an unspecified in-flight emergency and crashed near South Korea on Monday local time during a routine training exercise, the Air Force said in a statement.

The pilot was able to complete an emergency eject as the jet crashed into the Yellow Sea after taking off from an air base used jointly by U.S. and Korean forces, South Korean news agency Yonhap first reported, citing military sources. Republic of Korea Maritime Forces later recovered the pilot, who is awake an in stable condition, the Air Force’s 8th Fighter Wing, assigned to Kunsan Air Base, confirmed in a statement.

“We are grateful for the safe recovery of our airman by our [Republic of Korea] allies and that the pilot is in good condition,” said Col. Matthew C. Gaetke, 8th Fighter Wing commander, said in the statement.

The incident took place at approximately 8:43 a.m local time, according to the statement. The Air Force does not plan to release the name of the pilot or any further information about his condition.

More details about the crash, including the cause of the in-flight emergency, will come to light after the Air Force completes an investigation begun into the incident, the statement read.

The The Department of Defense (DOD) initially said it was looking into the reports, later referring the Daily Caller News Foundation to the Air Force and U.S. Forces Korea. U.S. Forces Korea did not initially respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

The incident the latest in a string of crashes. On Nov. 29, a CV-22 Osprey operated by an Air Force special operations unit in Japan crashed during what was characterized as an emergency water landing near the southern Yakushima Island, killing all eight on board.

A combined U.S.-Japanese search and rescue team recovered the remains of one more airman on Sunday, Air Force Special Operations Command said in a statement. Teams are still working to retrieve the body of the eighth and final airman.

Micaela Burrow on December 10, 2023

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