Singapore suspends F-16 training after plane crash on Wednesday

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's defence ministry said it was temporarily suspending training for its F-16 aircraft fleet after an F-16 crashed during a routine training on Wednesday.

The ministry said the suspension was a safety precaution that would remain in place until investigations show it is safe to resume training. The pilot ejected from the plane before the crash and is in a stable and conscious condition.

In a statement issued late on Wednesday night, the defence ministry said the pilot had over 2,000 flying hours on the F-16 aircraft and detailed investigations were ongoing. "According to the pilot, he encountered flight control issues upon lifting off the runway at Tengah Air Base for a routine training flight."

According to local media CNA, Singapore has operated the U.S.-manufactured F-16 for nearly 30 years and the last time one of its fighter jets crashed was in May 2004.

Then, an F-16C went down during a night training mission in the U.S. state of Arizona, killing the 25-year-old pilot.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Facebook that he was "obviously disappointed over this incident" on Wednesday.

Ng said the goal was for the air force to have "zero crashes", adding: "Full investigations are underway to make sure all factors are identified and rectified decisively."

(Reporting by Xinghui Kok; editing by Mark Heinrich)