Two separate fighter jet crashes kill two, injure two in Afghanistan

Monday, July 20, 2009

A U.S. Air Force F-15 similar to the one that crashed Saturday

A United States fighter jet crash on Saturday has claimed the lives of the two American pilots onboard in eastern Afghanistan, and a NATO fighter crash at Kandahar Airfield has injured two more pilots today.

The latest crash is the fifth in the space of a week. On Tuesday a helicopter was shot down, killing seven civilians. Yesterday a NATO-chartered helicopter crashed at Kandahar Airfield, killing sixteen, and another helicopter landed heavily elsewhere, injuring several people. Only Tuesday's accident involved hostile fire.

Kandahar International Airport, which houses Kandahar Airfield

Saturday's accident involved a U.S. Air Force (USAF) F-15, which crashed at 3:15 a.m. Kabul time in Nawur, Ghazni. Both of those on the two-man fighter were killed. A spokseman for Ghazni's governor stated that "The crash site was sealed off by coalition forces. Afghan police were not allowed to have access to this area."

A board of officers will investigate the accident. "We mourn the loss of these two airmen and our thoughts are with their families, loved ones and their unit," said a USAF statement.

Initially NATO did not identify the nationality of the pilots involved in today's accident or the nationality or model of the aircraft involved. However the MOD of the United Kingdom later confirmed that the aircraft was an RAF Tornado GR4 which crashed on take-off. The crash occurred at 7:20 a.m. local time and the wreckage burned for five hours. Both pilots ejected safely but sustained minor injuries, they are currently being treated and assessed in hospital.

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