An A-10 Warthog from Osan Air Base in South Korea accidentally released a non-explosive munition while on a training flight Oct. 13, the 51st Fighter Wing said.
After a three-day search for the missing projectile involving U.S. and Korean personnel, which proved unsuccessful, the search was called off.
In an email Tuesday night, 1st Lt. Daniel de La Fé, head of public affairs for the 51st, said that the A-10 pilot was from the 25th Fighter Squadron at Osan and “inadvertently released an unguided non-explosive projectile” in a “remote off-range area.”
The accidental release was first reported by Task and Purpose.
South Korea’s Ministry of Defense was immediately notified, de La Fé said. A combined search and recovery team consisting of members of the 51st and South Korean personnel began sweeping the area where the projectile was dropped, both from the air and on the ground, he said.
As the search continued, both American and South Korean leaders decided that, based on the terrain where the projectile was believed to have landed, there was not a significant threat to anyone. The search was called off Oct. 16, without the projectile.
De La Fé said that a safety investigation is now under way.
The wing decided that the release was an “isolated incident,” and a safety stand-down was not needed, he said. But the wing’s leadership has put measures into place “to reduce the likelihood of incidents like this occurring in the future,” de La Fé said.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.