US pilot safely ejects before fighter jet crashes into sea off South Korea, officials say

A US Air Force pilot safely ejected before his F-16 fighter jet crashed into the sea off South Korea’s coast, US and South Korean military officials have said.

The pilot was recovered by the South Korean coast guard and was “awake and in stable condition,” the US 8th Fighter Wing said in a statement.

The pilot took off from Kunsan Air Base near the southwestern port city of Gunsan on a routine training flight and was forced to eject from the aircraft after experiencing an unspecified in-flight emergency.

The 8th Fighter Wing said the cause of the in-flight emergency is being investigated.

“We are grateful for the safe recovery of our Airman by our ROK Allies and that the pilot is in good condition,” Colonel Matthew C Gaetke, the 8th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement, referring to the Republic of Korea, South Korea’s official name.

It comes after a US Air Force Osprey aircraft crashed off southern Japan on 29 November during a training mission, killing all eight people on board.