F-16 accidentally shoots control tower with 20mm cannon

An F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off from Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, March 9, 2011. The 4th EFS launch F-16s around the clock in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Photo by Capt. Erick Saks

A Norwegian fighter jet has accidentally machine-gunned a control tower with three officers inside.

The trio survived unhurt after the strafed the tower while taking part in a mock attack on the uninhabited island of Tarva, the military said.

“An investigation has been opened,” Captain Brynjar Stordal, a spokesman for the Norwegian military, told the AFP news agency.

A hail of bullets hit the tower in the incident, which happened shortly after midnight on 13 April.

Major Stian Roen said the jet was supposed to fire at a simulated target on the airfield around 500m away but “something went wrong”.

The same tower had been hit by at least one round when it was fired on by F-16s in a similar incident in 2009, when no one was injured.

Two years ago a Dutch mistakenly machine-gunned the control tower at the Vliehors range on Vlieland island, north of Amsterdam, during a training flight.

In that incident, two controllers escaped injury when several live rounds from the jet’s 20mm cannon caused minor damage to the tower.


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