A single-seater aircraft from the South Korean aerobatic team taking part in the Singapore Airshow 2018 was involved in an accident while taking off at Changi Airport’s Runway 1 on Tuesday. Footage of the plane showed it had skidded and crashed into a grass verge. The pilot from the Republic of Korea Air Force’s Black Eagles team managed to escape with light injuries.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said the plane was taking off for the flying display programme at the Singapore Airshow when it skidded. "The pilot sustained light injuries and is being treated," a spokesman for the CAAS said. Footage shows the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle plane in flames before it was put out by firefighters.
"The runway was checked thoroughly and cleaned up to ensure that it was safe and ready for operations before it could be reopened," Changi Airport Group (CAG) said. A total of 170 flights were delayed for an hour or more, it added in an update at about 10.30pm. "Due to the incident, operations at Changi Airport were impacted as it was operating with just one runway instead of two," it said.
Eyewitness Gerald Searle, 51, was at the airport waiting for his flight to Australia when he saw the accident. "I saw the plane spin sideways, flip over and then slide down the runway upside down," said Mr Searle. "It burst into flames, though most at the rear."
Close-up photos, which appear to have been taken from the runway, have emerged online. They show the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle plane lying upside down on the grass which is covered with white foam.
The South Korean Air Force has launched an investigation into the accident.
"I was sorry to hear about the incident with the Korean Black Eagles but glad the pilot is safe," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post.