Manama : A US F-18 fighter jet made an emergency landing at Bahrain International Airport yesterday after it developed an engine problem and its pilot ejected from the aircraft that ran off the runway. The pilot escaped unharmed.
The crash disrupted flights to and from the airport. The airport was closed for operations for a few hours, while all the flights were diverted to the Dammam International airport.
“An F/A-18E of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146 assigned to the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) departed the runway and the pilot ejected during an emergency landing at Bahrain International Airport on Aug. 12, 2017,” said a statement issued by US Navy’s Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain The F-18 Super Hornet took off from the USS Nimitz, an aircraft carrier now in the Gulf, said the statement. While in flight, the plane suffered an engine malfunction, forcing the pilot to divert, it said.
The pilot initially tried to land at Sheikh Isa Air Base in Bahrain, but instead had to divert to the island’s commercial airport, the statement said.
“Due to the malfunction, the aircraft could not be stopped on the runway and the pilot ejected from the aircraft as it departed the runway,” the statement said.
Images on social media showed the grey fighter jet’s nose tipped into the air but largely intact after what the US Navy described as an “uncontrollable” landing.
Airport back to normal
Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications, said in a statement that it was a minor incident and flights resumed at the airport several hours later.
“Flights to and from the airport are back to normal after the necessary safety procedures had been taken by competent authorities,” it said.
The incident was handled in accordance with the BIA’s contingency plans, the Ministry added on its statement.
“There was chaos as the operations were suspended at the runway and all the flights coming into the Kingdom were being diverted but the authorities took necessary steps swiftly. Now everything is under control and all operations are back to normal,” a source at the Bahrain International Airport told DT News.