Uncontrolled acceleration caused F-16 to crash into building; Two hospitalized
The F-16 fighter jet crash at Leeuwarden Air Base on Thursday was a result of the plane’s uncontrolled acceleration when it was taxiing for takeoff, the commander of Leeuwarden Air Base, Henk Doorten, said during a press conference.
"The engine started producing more power and the aircraft did not stay where it should. The pilot hit the brakes hard, but the acceleration continued and he was forced to use the ejection seat," said Doorten, the Leeuwarder Courant reported.
The Belgian pilot was able to eject from the plane just before it hit a building and eventually landed with his parachute outside the base's gates. He was hospitalized with an injury to his leg.
A crew chief was performing checks on the plane when the incident happened. He was reportedly knocked over and dragged along for a short distance. He was also hospitalized and his injuries were being evaluated, but were not disclosed.
The Dutch Safety Board said it will further investigate the cause of the incident at Leeuwarden Air Base together with their Belgian colleagues.
The pilot was to have been taking part in a six-month Weapons Instructor Course at Leeuwarden, together with 23 others from the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway. The program trains people to become fighter jet trainers.
The candidates nominated for the program started on. May 3. The university level course runs through October 22. It includes people from six different disciplines, including F-16, F-35 and C-130 pilots, as well as intelligence officers, Patriot missile system operators, and Air Battle Managers.
On Thursday, the airbase was supposed to bid its farewell to the last Dutch F-16 aircraft in a special program. They were to be relocated to the airbase in Volkel, as they make way for new F-35s. The ceremony was cancelled because of the accident.