Saab Gripen crashes in south Thailand

A Swedish Gripen 39C fighter jet crashed during a Children’s Day air show in south Thailand on Saturday 14 January.

The air show took place at 56 Wing air base, Hat Yai, Songkhla province, when the plane crashed near a runway in front of children and families attending.

The pilot, Sqn Ldr Dilokrit Pattavee, was killed in the crash, which happened during performing a surprise attack manoeuvre, writes Bangkok Post.

Nine jet fighters took part in the air show.

Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Pongsak Semachai, a spokesman for the Royal Thai Air Force confirmed the accident and the death of the fighter pilot, expressing regret over the incident. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Board had been instruced to investigate the cause further.

According to Bankok Post AVM Sorakit Mangsing, director of the RTAF’s Safety Centre, said that after a meeting with air force investigators in Hat Yai that it was too early to establish the cause of the crash.

Later, the air force also asked for videos and images from the accident not to be shared out of respect the pilot’s family and others affected. One video showed how the Gripen nosedived, followed by an explosion on the ground.

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