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Ground Attack Fighter Shot Down Near Baghdad

BY Admin  April 8, 2003 at 8:40 AM EST

The pilot reportedly ejected safely and was retrieved by coalition forces.

The jet went down at approximately 10:18 a.m. local time (2:18 a.m. EDT) nearly the newly renamed Baghdad International Airport.

“We believe it was hit by surface-to-air fire,” Brigadier General Vincent Brooks told reporters in Qatar.

According to U.S. Central Command, the pilot escaped injury.

“The pilot ejected safely from the aircraft and was recovered by Coalition ground forces near the airport,” Central Command said in a statement. “The pilot is reported to be in good condition.”

Lt. Mark Kitchens, a spokesman at U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar, said American military were attempt to retrieve the aircraft were under way.

“We’re doing our best to determine the status of the aircraft, it’s condition and so on,” he told the Associated Press.

A CNN and MSNBC correspondent at the Pentagon said officials there were telling them that an Iraqi missile downed the jet.

Throughout the morning, at least one A-10 could be seen firing flares and flying low over the city. It was not known if this was the jet that crashed.