An American F-16 fighter aircraft crashed into the waters off the western coast of South Korea on Wednesday, as reported by the US Air Force to the South Korea-based Yonhap News Agency.
As per the report, the pilot was able to successfully escape from the fighter jet before it crashed and was later rescued.
The aircraft designated for the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, located approximately 180 kilometres south of Seoul, encountered an 'in-flight emergency' over the Yellow Sea and subsequently crashed at around 8:41 am, as reported by the 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs in a statement to the Yonhap News Agency.
Through collaborative rescue operations involving South Korean and US authorities, the pilot successfully ejected from the plane and was subsequently rescued at approximately 9:30 am (local time).
Per the US military, the pilot is in a stable state, and an inquiry is ongoing to determine the cause of the incident.
8th Fighter Wing commander Colonel Matthew C. Gaetke said, "We are very thankful to the Republic of Korea rescue forces and all of our teammates who made the swift recovery of our pilot possible. Now we will shift our focus to search and recovery of the aircraft."
The recent event represents the third occurrence of a US F-16 crashing in South Korea within a year.
In December, a US 8th Fighter Wing F-16 crashed into the Yellow Sea while conducting routine training as a result of an in-flight emergency.
In May, a US 51st Fighter Wing F-16 crashed close to Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, located 60 kilometers south of Seoul.
In both incidents, the pilots were able to eject from the aircraft, resulting in no casualties.