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U.S. F-16 in South Korea drops fuel tanks during flight

A F-16 fighter jet of the U.S. Air Force 8th Fighter Wing, like this one, dropped fuel tanks while mid-flight over southwest Korea, according to multiple press reports Tuesday. File Photo by Staff Sgt. Jessica Hines/ U.S. Air Force Photo
A F-16 fighter jet of the U.S. Air Force 8th Fighter Wing, like this one, dropped fuel tanks while mid-flight over southwest Korea, according to multiple press reports Tuesday. File Photo by Staff Sgt. Jessica Hines/ U.S. Air Force Photo

July 6 (UPI) -- At least one object believed to be a fuel tank fell out of a U.S. F-16 fighter jet during training in South Korea, but no injuries were reported.

The U.S. Forces Korea aircraft was flying near the Saemangeum Seawall in southwest Korea when the object dropped, landing near a local road about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday, News 1 reported.

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Construction workers building a new road running north to south about 50 to 100 meters from the crash were not hurt. The object splashed into man-made, 9-foot-deep Saemangeum Lake, according to the report.

Eyewitnesses said that they heard noise coming from the fighter jet flying overhead, and then saw a "fuel-tank shaped object" fall into the water, Yonhap reported.

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The U.S. Air Force 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base said two fuel tanks actually fell into the water during the F-16 flight, the report said.

A source with the U.S. Air Force told the South Korean news service that it may take "several days" to determine the exact details of the accident.

A similar incident involving an F-16 assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing occurred in March 2017, when the pilot of the aircraft released drop tanks after being apprised of an oil system malfunction, the U.S. military said at the time.

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"The pilot safely executed the established emergency procedures, which included releasing the fuel tanks before landing unharmed," Lt. Col. Michal Kloeffler-Howard said, according to Stars and Stripes in 2017.

The tanks at the time contained an estimated 600 gallons of fuel, but the military said the fuel would not pose pollution problems because of naturally occurring bacteria that could break it down in water.

Other fuel tanks were dropped from U.S. aircraft in 2014 and 2016, according to Yonhap.

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