Tragedy struck the Singapore Airshow today — an aircraft from the Republic of Korea Air Force’s Black Eagles aerobatic team skidded, crashed, and burned at the side of a Changi Airport runway this afternoon.
Changi Airport confirmed that the incident took place on Runway 1 around 1:30pm today, with the Korean pilot sent to the clinic after he sustained light injuries.
Footage captured and uploaded on Facebook by Gerald Searle showed a dramatic scene on the runway, as Airport Emergency Services (AES) officers extinguished the blaze by coating the burning wreck with foam.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), the accident took place when the aircraft was taking off for the flying display programme as part of the Singapore Airshow. Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, Searle said that he saw the plane spin sideways before flipping over and sliding across the runway upside down.
With Runway 1 closed until further notice, Changi Airport promptly issued an advisory stating that a number of departure and arrival flights will be delayed over the next couple of hours, urging passengers to stay tuned to updates online or through the iChangi app.
The Black Eagles have been a regular fixture in the Singapore Airshow, with the squad’s T-50B supersonic trainer jets wowing audiences with complex aerobatic flight skills. Accidents involving the Black Eagles are rare, but they’ve been pretty high-profile — two of their planes collided in mid-air in 1998, killing one pilot, while human error during a maintenance operation killed another pilot after his plane crashed mountainside in Hoengsong, South Korea.