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Air Force instructor dies after ejection seat goes off while plane is on the ground

An Air Force instructor pilot died Tuesday after the ejection seat of the plane he was in activated while the plane was on the ground, Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas said.

Capt. John Robertson of the 80th Operations Support Squadron was seriously injured in the incident at the base Monday and died Tuesday morning, base officials said in a statement.

The ejection seat of the T-6A Texan II plane exploded while inside, according to the statement.

The T-6A Texan II is a single-engine, two-seat aircraft used for training. No other injuries were announced. The accident occurred during “ground operations,” the statement said.

“This is a devastating loss for Captain Robertson’s family and loved ones, as well as the entire 80th Flying Training Wing,” said Col. Mitchell J. Cok, acting commander of the squadron, in the press release. “Captain Robertson was a highly regarded aviator and instructor pilot. Our deepest condolences go to all those who knew and loved him.

The base said an interim safety board investigation was immediately formed and a full Air Force Safety Board of Investigation is expected to be established later this week.

Robertson’s family was able to be by his side at the hospital when he died, which Cok attributed to the medical efforts of area staff members, as well as other first responders and staff members at the hospital that provided him with care.

Sheppard Air Force Base is located just north of Wichita Falls, Texas. It is an Air Force training installation, and it is stated on its website that it is the only Air Force base that offers both technical training and flight training.

The T-6A Texan II is a turboprop aircraft used to teach basic flying. Ejection seats are designed to propel people away from aircraft in distress so they can parachute safely.

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