An Israeli air force Lockheed Martin F-16I "Sufa" crashed in the Mediterranean sea 27nm (50km) off the coast of the Gaza Strip during a training flight on 7 July.

The two crew members ejected and were picked up from the water by helicopters from the service's 669 rescue unit about 50min later. Both were flown to hospital and are in a good condition.

First indications point to a sudden malfunction of the combat aircraft's engine, with the pilots reportedly having tried unsuccessfully to restart it before ejecting.

Air force chief Maj Gen Amir Eshel temporarily suspended training flights involving the service's remaining F-16Is and Boeing F-15I strike aircraft until an initial inquiry into the failure has been completed. Both types are powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100-229 engine.

The accident reduces the air force's active inventory of two-seat F-16Is to 99 aircraft, according to Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

It is the third loss to have involved the Israeli variant, following a fatal crash in November 2010 and a landing gear failure in 1996.

Source: Flight International