A US Air Force F-16 fighter was forced to drop its two external fuel tanks before making an emergency landing at an airport in Aomori Prefecture on Tuesday.
The 35th Fighter Wing, which is based at Misawa, Japan, said the tanks fell into a nonresidential area near Mount Iwaki, some 70 miles west of Misawa Air
Japanese officials, however, said the tanks apparently landed in a residential area. Local police are said to have spotted pieces of metal and liquid that are believed to be fuel at around 20 to 30 meters from some houses.
The 35th Fighter Wing only said the F-16 landed around 6 p.m. following an “in-flight emergency,” without revealing what might have forced the pilot to do so.
No injuries have been reported following the accident.
This is not the first time fighters from Misawa Air Base have dropped fuel tanks over the Aomori Prefecture.
An F-16 dropped fuel tanks in the Sea of Japan off Aomori Prefecture in 2015, while another accident from 2018 saw fuel tanks land in a lake near the base.
In 2019, an F-16 dropped an inert bomb on private land, 15 miles off the base.
Misawa Air Base is the only combined, joint service installation in the western Pacific, hosting units from the US Air Force, US Navy, US Army as well as the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, or JASDF.