US fighter jet crash lands at Bahrain International Airport

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A U.S. F/A-18 fighter jet suffering an engine problem crash landed Saturday at Bahrain International Airport and its pilot ejected from the aircraft after it ran off the runway, authorities said. The pilot escaped unharmed.

The crash disrupted flights to and from the island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia that’s home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. Images on social media showed the grey fighter jet’s nose tipped into the air but largely intact after what the Navy described as an “uncontrollable” landing.

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

The pilot initially tried to land at Sheikh Isa Air Base in Bahrain, but instead ended up at the island’s commercial airport, 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,” the commander said in a statement.

Naval officials began an investigation into the crash and were trying to help the airport resume operations, Urban said. Bahrain’s Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry called the crash landing a “minor incident” in a statement and said flights resumed at the airport several hours later.

Bahrain hosts 8,000 U.S. troops, mostly sailors attached to a sprawling base called the Naval Support Activity. Officials at that facility oversee some 20 U.S. 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.


7 thoughts on “US fighter jet crash lands at Bahrain International Airport”

  1. Ouch. Have to say that the F/A-18, for me, always reminds me of an incident during my early-1990s aviation journalism jag, when I was aboard an RAAF KB-707 and watching the Aussie F/A-18A’s coming up for a drink from the under-wing pods – I have pictures of the moment. It was a surreal experience; the aircraft had been bought by the RAAF from Qantas and stripped, but still had the last half-dozen passenger seats in the aft fuselage, along with the original Qantas 1960s-era vinyl lining (it had, as I recall, little iconic pictures of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and kangaroos as decoration). This was where the boomers sat, watching the approaching fighters.

    1. Sounds like a nice gig Matthew, your experience just reminded me of flying on cargo VC-10s in the air force. They had a number of seats aft of the cockpit, it was a heck of a job moving around on the machined cargo floor with rollers designed for the smooth insertion of pallets. No health and safety in those days – I’m surprised nobody broke their neck!

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