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Hunt for missiles after SKorean jets collide: ministry


Seoul : South Korea’s air force was hunting for live missiles after two jet fighters collided north of Seoul on Tuesday, the defence ministry said.

Two F-5E jets brushed against each other during a training exercise and one crashed into a rice paddy after the pilot had ejected safely. The other suffered damage to its tail but managed to return to its home base.

Four undetonated air-to-air missiles — two from each jet — fell to the ground after the impact near Pocheon, 46 kilometres (29 miles) north of Seoul, the ministry said.

“One of the four missing AIM-9 missiles has been recovered and we are trying to locate the other three,” air force spokesman Moon Chae-Wook told AFP.

The spokesman said there was “a very low possibility” of the missiles exploding on the ground because they were designed to be detonated only by a switch inside the jet.

The planes had taken off from an air base in Wonju earlier in the day for routine training. The cause of the collision was not immediately known.

The military suspended all flights by F-5E jets, manufactured by US firm Northrop-Grumman, following the accident, the ministry said. The air force has about 200 of the F-5E jets.