SEOUL, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- A South Korean F-5 fighter crashed into a mountain in South Korea's Chungcheong province, south of the country's capital Seoul at 11:56 a.m. local time and the lone pilot ejected safely before the crash, Yonhap News Agency reported Thursday. The one-seater F-5E crashed into a mountain near Jeungpyeong shortly before noon, around an hour after it took off from an air base in Cheongju city for a training exercise, the Air Force said in a release. The pilot ejected from the jet safely after he failed to make an emergency landing when the nose of the plane rapidly pointed upwards, Yonhap quoted the air force as saying. The 32-year-old Air Force captain, identified by his surname Lee, was soon rescued and sent to a nearby military hospital, officials said.
Military authorities and local fire department has sent firefighters, vehicles and helicopter to the scene. As an explosion occurred 50 minutes after the crash, the site of the incident was cordoned off in case of a second blast.
Investigations are still underway to find out the cause of the incident. It is reported that the old jet has been in operation by the Air Force since 1978. In 2010, three F-5s crashed in South Korea's Gangwon Province, killing five pilots.