Pilot ejects safely as Indonesian fighter jet crashes

PEKANBARU, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian air force fighter jet crashed during a training mission on Sumatra island on Monday, injuring the pilot, who was able to eject to safety, an official said.

The pilot was on a solo flight following a routine training mission when the British-built Hawk 200 went down into a residential housing complex in Pekanbaru, the capital of Riau province, said Indonesian air force spokesman Fajar Adriyanto.

He said in a statement that the cause of the crash, which happened about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Pekanbaru’s Rusmin Nuryadin air force base, was under investigation.

The pilot, who ejected and parachuted to safety and landed on the roof of a house, was taken to a hospital for examination, Adriyanto said. He said the crash did not cause any casualties on the ground.

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Television news channels showed orange flames coming from the crash site, sending black smoke billowing from the wreckage in a house’s backyard.

A resident whose home is about 100 meters (320 feet) from the crash site told Kompas TV that he saw flames coming from the fighter jet as it flew very low before crashing into an empty two-story house.

“The explosions and blazing from the crash made all the residents run away in fear,” he said.

The accident comes after the June 6 crash of an Indonesian army helicopter on the main island of Java that killed five of the nine troops on board.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago nation of about 270 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents in recent years, including plane crashes and ferry sinkings.

The military, which suffers from low funding, has also regularly suffered airplane and helicopter crashes.

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