The fire was not likely caused by a mechanical malfunction during the emergency landing at Kallinge airport in southeastern Sweden.
“Much points to some form of forgetfulness,” local wing commander Mats Helgesson told TT news agency.
He said the pilot might have forgotten to release the Gripen's landing gear. If the landing gear is not out, the pilot receives an alarm from the plane's internal monitoring system. According to Helgesson, all systems were functioning properly.
He said that the accident would probably not affect whether the pilot would be allowed to to fly if he was found responsible.
“Military flight operations often involve various situations and dangers. Something like this is not at all intentional, and in addition, it is oneself that is put into danger in such as situation. It's rather the opposite. Considering the circumstances, he has handled the situation admirably,” Helgesson said.
No one was injuring during the incident. The pilot escaped unharmed and was able to make his own way out of the burning plane.