The Belgian pilot of a Dutch air force F-16 fighter plane this morning ejected after encountering difficulties. According to reports, two people were injured when the plane crashed.
The incident took place at the Dutch air base at Leeuwarden, in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands. It happened immediately on take-off, and the plane was never in the air.
The Belgian pilot, who was taking part in a Weapons Instructor Course along with 23 other pilots from Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway, lost control of the plane and ejected. The plane went on to fly into a building at the end of the runway. Two people were injured, the air base reported.
Two crash tenders – fire engines specially equipped to deal with plane crashes – were deployed, but according to the air base, the crash did not result in a fire. The pilot, meanwhile, was injured and has been taken to hospital.
The Belgian defence minister Ludivine Dedonder (PS) confirmed that a Belgian aircraft was involved.
“The minister is being informed about the situation minute by minute,” a spokesperson said. “The ejection seat had indeed been used and we are waiting for more information about the occupant and the incident itself.”
The cause of the incident is being investigated. Already a team from the Dutch Safety Board has been dispatched to the base to make a preliminary investigation. The scene will also be investigated by the accident investigation branch of the Dutch gendarmerie.
Today was due to be the last day that F-16s took off from the Leeuwarden base, the Leeuwarder Courant reports. The planes will in future be based at Volkel base, 200km to the south close to Eindhoven.