11/28/2006 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- The interim safety investigation board convened by U.S. Central Command Air Forces has begun its efforts to gather evidence to determine what caused an Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon to crash approximately 20 miles northwest of Baghdad at about 1:35 p.m. Nov. 27.
The single-seat jet was in direct support of extensive coalition ground combat operations when it crashed in an uninhabited field.
Coalition reconnaissance assets and fighter aircraft were overhead when the crash occurred and confirmed that insurgents were in the vicinity of the crash site immediately following the crash.
Ground forces secured the crash scene Nov. 27 as soon as the combat operations in the area ceased. The primary concerns of USCENTAF in responding to this incident have been the safety of coalition forces and the recovery of the pilot.
The pilot was not found at the crash site and his status cannot be confirmed at this time. The investigation board has collected DNA samples from the crash site and will release results upon completion of testing.
The F-16 was deployed to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad Air Base, Iraq. The accident investigation convening authority is Air Combat Command.
(Courtesy of U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs)