Fighter jet crash kills Iraqi pilot in Arizona

Iraqi military pilot killed after fighter jet crashes into Arizona desert during night training mission

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Rasid Mohammed Sadiq Hasan, an Iraqi general, was found dead near the US-Mexico border after his military fighter jet crashed into the Arizona desert during a night training mission, US officials said on Friday.

The body of Brigadier General Hasan was recovered by search crews about eight km east of Douglas Municipal Airport, US and Iraqi government officials said.

The Iraqi pilot was said to be alone when the accident happened.

A huge grass fire was ignited when the Iraqi-owned F-16 Fighting Falcon went down.

The fire was quenched within hours and there were no reports of injuries to people on the ground caused by the crash.

The Brigadier General was part of a Tucson-based training program for pilots from nine nations being run by the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Wing to take part in the fight against ISIS, US military officials stated.

Iraqi military pilots trained by the US Air Force will be the first to use F-16s belonging to Iraq in the fight against ISIS militants, who control large amounts of territory in both Iraq and Syria.

US Ambassador Stuart Jones has praised Hasan as a courageous man who dedicated his life and career to defending his country from ISIS insurgents.

"This courageous warrior surpassed every challenge and faced many dangers and risks during rigorous training, the most difficult such program a pilot can undertake," Stuart said in a statement on Friday.

"The United States Mission in Iraq pays tribute to the General Sadiq [Hasan], his courage, and his commitment to service," he said in the statement. "We will work tirelessly with our Iraqi partners to fulfill his noble mission by continuing to do our part in defeating Da'esh, an Arabic acronym for ISIS."

General Lloyd Austin, commander of US Central Command, sent his condolences to Hasan's family.

"We are in a tough fight together, and our hope is that Gen. Sadiq's comrades will be able to find strength in his service and honor his sacrifice through their own continued service in the coming days," Austin stated.

The cause of the incident has not yet been discovered and the US Air Force will start an investigation, US officials said.

TRTWorld and agencies