Ex Pitch Black 2018: Jet malfunctions, drops a mysterious ‘object’ from sky, creates panic


DARWIN: It was an unprecedented scene in Darwin, Australia.

On Monday afternoon, a ‘large object’ was seen falling from the sky, hours after the Operation Pitch Black started with the first wave of flights.

The city of Darwin is used to aircraft flying overhead during the annual international air force exercise.

But falling of an unknown object from the sky – now that is something!

Later a Defence spokesperson clarified that an aircraft was forced to dump its entire fuel tank over Darwin after it ran into trouble mid-air.

Later, in a statement, the spokesperson said, “A jet aircraft involved in Exercise Pitch Black reported an engine malfunction and conducted an emergency jettison of its external fuel tank into scrubland south of Darwin,” as reported by various Australian media outlets.

The aircraft and pilot managed to return safely to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin.

Admitting that this was a rare occasion, the team is currently investigating the matter, said the statement.

Recalling the incident, eyewitness claim a large black object seemed to be tumbling over and over again.

This is not the first time, an aircraft run into trouble in the massive international Pitch Black event.

In 2000, a dummy missile fell from an FA18 Hornet onto a pick-up truck in Darwin.

With over 140 aircraft and 4000 personnel from 16 countries, Operation Pitch Black in Australia is one of the biggest exercises of its kinds. Officially inaugurated on Friday, the exercise will be on till August 17.

The IAF has been at the centre of the exercise as it looks to build on regional partnerships, improve interoperability between nations and promote regional stability.

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