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F-2 fighters collide in midair above west Japan

F-2 fighter airplanes are seen landing at Tsuiki Air Base after training, in Chikujo, Fukuoka Prefecture. (Mainichi/Hiroya Miyagi)

TOKYO -- Two Japan Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) F-2 fighters came in contact with each other in midair above northern Yamaguchi Prefecture in west Japan on April 22.

    The two fighters belong to the ASDF's Tsuiki Air Base, which straddles the town of Chikujo and other municipalities in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Fukuoka. About an hour after the incident, which occurred just after 3:05 p.m., the fighters returned to the base. The two pilots and a photographer aboard were not injured.

    Two parts fell from one of the aircraft in the incident, which have not been found. There were no reports of injuries on the ground.

    According to the ASDF, one aircraft was a two-seater F-2B and the other was single-seater F-2A. An official explained that the F-2A's nose hit the vertical tail of the F-2B, causing an anti-collision light weighing about 400 grams and discharge cord weighting about 5 grams to fall from the F-2B.

    The two aircraft departed from the base at around 3 p.m., and were flying in formation northward near 670-meter-high Mount Hanao, which straddles the cities of Nagato and Mine in Yamaguchi Prefecture. An ASDF member and a civilian magazine photographer were aboard the F-2B. The ASDF is investigating the incident including the cause of the contact.

    In November 2018, two F-2 fighters belonging to Tsuiki Air Base came in contact with each other in midair during training, while an F-2 aircraft that belonged to the same base crash-landed in the Sea of Japan off Yamaguchi Prefecture in February 2019.

    (Japanese original by Yoshitake Matsuura, Tokyo City News Department)

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