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Eielson F-16 fighter jets make emergency landing at Bethel Airport

An F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, assigned to the 35th Fighter Squadron, takes off using afterburner during exercise Distant Frontier at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 3, 2012. Fourteen aircraft assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing participated in Distant Frontier and Red Flag-Alaska, two exercises featuring simulated combat scenarios to test the combat mission capabilities and effectiveness of participating squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Fowler/Released)
An F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, assigned to the 35th Fighter Squadron, takes off using afterburner during exercise Distant Frontier at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 3, 2012. Fourteen aircraft assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing participated in Distant Frontier and Red Flag-Alaska, two exercises featuring simulated combat scenarios to test the combat mission capabilities and effectiveness of participating squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Fowler/Released)(Staff Sgt. Jonathan Fowler | U.S. Department of Defense)
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 2:47 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing diverted to the Bethel Airport when one of the aircraft experienced an in-flight emergency at approximately 9 p.m., Sept. 22, 2020.

The F-16s were on their way to Eielson Air Force Base after participating in an exercise in the Indo-Pacific theater. Both pilots have no injuries and landed safely at the divert location.

“We’re very thankful to the Bethel community for all the support they’re providing to our two F-16 pilots, especially from the local law enforcement and airport teams,” said Col. David Berkland, 354th FW commander. “As usual, our Alaska communities have our back and help us accomplish our mission every day.”

Security and maintenance teams are being dispatched to Bethel to assist in recovering the aircraft. More information will be released as it becomes available.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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