UAE Fighter Jet Crashes Amid Yemen War, Killing 2 Pilots

Boys check a part of a United Arab Emirates Mirage plane that crashed in Yemen's southern port city of Aden March 14, 2016. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman
Boys check a part of a United Arab Emirates Mirage plane that crashed in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden on Monday. (Reuters/Fawaz Salman)

An Emirati fighter jet suffered a “technical malfunction” and crashed Monday while taking part in the Saudi-led war against Shiite rebels in Yemen, killing the plane’s two pilots, authorities said.

Bystanders apparently found the remains of the Mirage fighter near Yemen’s port city of Aden, while amateur video and photos posted on a local news site showed onlookers rifling through the debris and standing on a piece of the plane’s distinctive triangle-shaped wing.

The United Arab Emirates’ state-run WAM news agency earlier announced the “loss of a fighter aircraft.” It did not immediately report the pilots’ deaths. The state-run Saudi Press Agency carried a statement announcing their deaths, saying the crash happened at dawn.

The seven-emirate nation has dispatched its fighter jets in strikes targeting Scud missiles in Yemen, as well as Houthi camps, air defense systems and other military targets, WAM news agency has reported. The news agency has said 30 jets from the UAE were taking part in the strikes.

In December, a Bahraini pilot flying for the Saudi-led coalition survived a jet crash along the kingdom’s southern border.

Last year, a Saudi-led coalition began a campaign of airstrikes targeting Shiite Houthi rebels, who control the Yemeni capital and other parts of the country.

The war in the Arab world’s poorest nation has killed more than 6,000 people.