Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Two South Korean air force planes collide and crash, killing four

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) – Two South Korean air force planes collided in mid-air during training and crashed near their base yesterday, killing all four people aboard the aircraft, officials said.

Both planes were KT-1 trainer aircraft – South Korea’s first indigenously developed planes – that took off from an air force base in the southeastern city of Sacheon one after another for flight training, the air force said in a statement.

The collision occurred about five minutes after the first aircraft took off and about 3.7 miles south of the Sacheon base, the air force said.

Two people – a trainer pilot and an instructor – were aboard each of the two KT-1 aircraft. All four ejected from the planes but were later found dead, the air force statement said.

The four victims were identified as two first lieutenants and their instructors, both civilian employees at the air force.

A military examiner inspects debris from the aircraft collision. PHOTO: AP

The air force said it will launch a task force to investigate what caused the collision. The air force said the crashes didn’t cause any civilian casualties on the ground and it was trying to determine if any civilian property was damaged.

A Sacheon police official Lee Seong-gyeong said a passenger car was destroyed after being hit by wreckage but added that officials weren’t immediately aware of any other notable damage to civilian property.

South Korean media published photos of the mangled vehicle surrounded by scattered machinery parts that were apparently from the planes.

Local emergency officials earlier said three bodies had been found in a mountainous area and a farming field in Sacheon. They said they believed the planes crashed into a mountain because a fire erupted there.

Local officials said three helicopters, 20 vehicles and dozens of emergency workers were dispatched to the presumed crash sites. They said a number of military personnel were also sent there.