Military officials check the wreckage of an F-5E fighter on a hill in Hwaseong, about 40 kilometers south of Seoul, where the plane belonging to the Air Force's 10th Combat Squadron crashed right after takeoff at 1:44 p.m. on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
An Air Force pilot died after an F-5E fighter jet crashed in central South Korea on Tuesday, the military said.
The aircraft crashed into a mountain in Hwaseong, some 40 kilometers south of Seoul, at 1:46 p.m. minutes after taking off from an Air Force base in the nearby city of Suwon, they said.
"An engine fire warning light turned on for the plane's left and right sides after the takeoff at a Suwon base at 1:44 p.m., and the plane shortly nosedived," the Air Force said in a statement.
The pilot with the rank of captain tried to eject but failed, it added.
The Air Force said it will form a task force to investigate the exact cause of the incident.
South Korea has operated around 200 F-5s since the 1970s, most of which are out of service or soon to be so after reaching a full life cycle.
The same type of the jet crashed into a mountain in central South Korea in 2013 during a flight training due to poor maintenance.
Tuesday's plane crash is the latest incident involving the Air Force's jets. Last week, an F-35A fighter made an emergency landing in Seosan, 150 kilometers south of Seoul, during a training session. (Yonhap)