Gripen jet crashes during air show, pilot killed

Gripen jet crashes during air show, pilot killed

The Jas 39C Gripen fighter jet crashes during the air show at Wing 56 in Hat Yai, Songkhla, on Saturday.
The Jas 39C Gripen fighter jet crashes during the air show at Wing 56 in Hat Yai, Songkhla, on Saturday.

A fighter jet crashed during a Children's Day air show in Hat Yai, Songkhla province, on Saturday. The pilot was killed.

Sqn Ldr Dilokrit Pattavee was killed when the Swedish-made Jas 39C Gripen fighter jet crashed on a runway at Wing 56 during the air show at around 9.27am while performing a surprise attack manoeuvre.

About an hour later, Thai media reported an airport fire engine overturned while rushing to put out the fire shortly after the crash. Hat Yai airport had to close to clear the runway. Commercial flights were diverted to Krabi airport while outbound flights were delayed. Authorities expect to be able to reopen the airport before noon. 

Air Force spokesman Pongsak Semachai said a committee would be set up to investigate into the cause.

The "Royal Thai Air Force" Facebook urged the public not to share the video clips and photos of the crash out of respect for the victim's family and affected parties. 

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-ocha and ACM Jom Roongsawang expressed condolences to the pilot's family.

Thailand,  the only country in the region with the Swedish planes in its fleet, has acquired 12 Gripen C/D single-engine fighter jets since 2008 at a cost of nearly US$70 million (2.5 billion baht) apiece.


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