US airman killed after ejection seat misfires from grounded plane

A US Air Force instructor has died after he was ejected from his plane while on the ground, the service said.

Captain John Robertson was killed after the seat of his T-6A Texan II activated at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.

He was taken to hospital on Monday and died the following morning.

Col Mitchell Cok of the 80th Flying Training Wing said the death was devastating for all Captain Robertson's loved ones and colleagues.

"Captain Robertson was a highly valued airman and instructor pilot. Our deepest condolences go with all who knew and loved him," he added.

The captain was awarded multiple decorations including the Air Force Training Ribbon, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Air Force Longevity Service Award.

The T-6A Texan II is a two-seat, single-engine turboprop. It is used for training by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

The instructor pilot may sit in either seat during training, and both have ejectors that can be activated by a handle. When activated, a cartridge explodes and initiates the ejection sequence.

In 2022, the military grounded 76 T-6s amid safety concerns, including potential defects in the explosive cartridges within their ejection seats, according to Military.com.

An investigation has been launched into the accident that killed Captain Robertson, the Air Force said.