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Investigation Into Jet Crash Shows Pilot Hit Mountain

Capt. James Michael Steel
Capt. James Michael Steel

The F-16C crash that killed pilot Capt. James Michael Steel on April 3, 2013 was caused by his failure to "perceive mountainous terrain in his flight path," according to a new report by the U.S. Air Force.

The Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report, released this week, found Steel crashed into the side of a mountain "obscured by poor weather conditions" roughly 10 nautical miles southeast of Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Steel was unable to eject and was killed upon impact.

Capt. Steel, 29, of Tampa, Florida, was assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.


A Shaw Air Force Base news release released in April reported Steel graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2006. He was the chief of mobility for Shaw's 77th Fighter Squadron.