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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

US F-18 fighter crash lands at Bahrain international airport

Jet developed engine malfunction after taking off from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz

The USS Nimitz, the aircraft carrier from which the F-18 fighter jet took off before developing an engine problem and crash-landing at Bahrain's international airport on August 12, 2017. Mike Blake / Reuters
The USS Nimitz, the aircraft carrier from which the F-18 fighter jet took off before developing an engine problem and crash-landing at Bahrain's international airport on August 12, 2017. Mike Blake / Reuters

A US F-18 fighter jet crash landed at Bahrain international airport on Saturday after suffering an engine problem. The pilot ejected from the aircraft after it ran off the runway and was unharmed.

The crash disrupted flights to and from Bahrain, which is home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet. Images on social media showed the grey fighter jet's nose tipped into the air but largely intact.

The F-18 took off from the USS Nimitz, an aircraft carrier now in the Persian Gulf, said Cmdr Bill Urban, a fleet spokesman. He said the plane suffered an engine malfunction, forcing the pilot to divert.

The pilot initially tried to land at Bahrain's Sheikh Isa Air Base but instead had to divert to the island's commercial airport, Cmdr Urban 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."

Cmdr Urban said naval officials had begun an investigation into the crash and were trying to help the airport resume operations. Bahrain's transportation and telecommunications ministry called the crash landing a "minor incident".

Bahrain hosts 8,000 US troops, mostly sailors attached to a sprawling based called the Naval Support Activity. That base oversees some 20 US and coalition naval vessels in the Gulf providing security and others running anti-piracy patrols.

Bahrain is also home to an under-construction British naval base.

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