A young pilot, Ümit Özer, died during a military training session on Tuesday when the Northrop F-5 fighter jet he was flying crashed in the central Anatolian province of Konya. Search efforts are continuing to find his co-pilot who is missing and investigations are underway into the cause of the accident.
The jet, which belonged to the Turkish Air Force’s celebrated aerobatic team, “Türk Yıldızları” (Turkish Stars), crashed around midday at a site of the Turkish Engine Industry and trade Corporation (TÜMOSAN) factory, roughly 2,000 kilometers from its take-off point.
Firefighting teams and ambulances were immediately dispatched to the scene, where the body of Özer was quickly discovered among the remains of part of the plane, the Cihan news agency reported Tuesday. Özer had reportedly starting working for the aerobatic team only recently. Teams from the 3rd Main Air Base are also involved in the search operations and are conducting over-head, bird’s-eye scans of the crash site in helicopters. It is thought that the engine stopped in the mid-air, which immediately caused to plane to crash, although official details as to the cause of the accident have yet to be released. An eye-witness photographer Mustafa İnan told news agencies: “I watched the four fighter planes take off and I was taking photographs. Two planes separated from the rest and then suddenly one started falling.”