SEOUL/CHILGOK, South Korea, April 5 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean fighter jet crashed into a mountain in a southern region Thursday, presumably killing the two pilots, the Air Force said.
The F-15K Slam Eagle crashed at around 2:38 p.m. in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang Province, on its way back to the Daegu Air Base after an hourlong mission, according to the Air Force.
The two airmen aboard the aircraft are believed to have been killed in the accident, an official told reporters. They were identified as Capt. Choi, aged 29, and 1st Lt. Park, 27. The local fire authorities earlier found the debris of the plane.
There was no civilian damage reported.
A total of 600 people, including military personnel, firefighters and police officers, are searching for the two pilots, the Air Force said.
Witnesses testified that they heard the sound of a loud bang at the time of the crash.
It's the first crash involving a South Korean F-15K fighter since 2006. An F-15K jet fell into the East Sea during a nighttime flight, killing two pilots at that time.
An F-16D fighter crashed in North Gyeongsang Province in 2016 but the two pilots survived.
The Air Force first introduced the F-15K, made by Boeing, in 2005. It operates more than 60 F-15Ks