Two South Korean air force planes collide, killing four, officials say | World News

Two South Korean air force planes have collided in mid-air during a training exercise, killing all four people on board.

Both planes were KT-1 trainer aircraft that took off from an air force base in the southeastern city of Sacheon for flight training, authorities said in a statement.

The collision happened around five minutes after the first aircraft took off – around 3.7 miles (6km) south of the airfield – at 1.37pm local time.

A military examiner watches debris from  South Korean Air force's KT-1 trainer aircraft at a village in Sacheon. Pic: AP
An investigation has been launched into the cause of the collision. Pic: AP

A trainer pilot and an instructor were aboard each aircraft. All four ejected from the planes but were later found dead, the air force said.

Around 130 troops, 95 police officers and 60 firefighters, as well as three helicopters, searched the crash site, the Yonhap news agency reported.

A photo it published showed a car parked in front of a farmhouse had been smashed by fragments of the aircraft, while another showed smoke rising from a mountain.

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

The air force said it will launch a task force to investigate the cause of the collision.

It comes after an air force pilot died in January after his F-5E fighter jet crashed near the capital Seoul. The incident prompted calls for South Korea to retire the planes, which have been in operation since the 1970s.

The KT-1 is South Korea’s first indigenously developed plane and has been used by the country’s air force since 2000.

In November 2003 Sacheon also saw another KT-1 crash, which killed a trainer pilot.

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