Trier A US fighter jet crashed during a training flight over the west of Rhineland-Palatinate. The pilot was able to save himself by the ejection seat on Tuesday and was admitted to hospital with minor injuries.
His plane cut a path into the forest before it came to a standstill on the ground about one kilometer later. The jet had taken off from the US airfield Spangdahlem in the Eifel for the routine training flight. "We are glad that the pilot is doing well," said Chief Master Sergeant Christopher Ostrom in the evening in Rodt (Trier-Saarburg district) not far from the impact point of the F-16 jet.
The wreck and all its parts will now be salvaged. "There will be a comprehensive investigation," Ostrom announced. But it is already clear: "The area is safe". There is no danger from the shattered plane. The military has taken command of the area around the crash site. Numerous roads were blocked off, German military police supported the Americans in closing off a military security zone.
The local mayor of Zemmer, Edgar Schmitt, was relieved that the crash happened outside his town: "I am very glad that the plane did not come down in the town", he said in the evening. The place in the forest where the jet crashed is difficult to reach. Zemmer is about halfway between Spangdahlem and Trier.
The head of the fire brigade in the community of Trier-Land, Jürgen Cordie, reported that the plane had literally "shaved off" tree tops. The German fire brigades were first on site before the Americans "took over“.
How it came to crash was still unclear. "We will provide more information later," said the sergeant.
The Trier police reported that there had been several emergency calls reporting the crash. Residents were asked to avoid the crash site.
This is the second military aircraft accident in Germany within a few months. In June, two Eurofighters collided and crashed during an air combat exercise in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. One pilot used the ejection seat and survived the accident injured, the other - a 27-year-old - died. The exact cause is still being determined.
In April 2011, a US military jet crashed from Spangdahlem base once before. At that time it was a type A-10 aircraft. The pilot was also able to save himself here.
The 52nd fighter squadron is stationed in Spangdahlem: It comprises an F-16 fighter jet squadron with at least 24 aircraft. Around 4000 US soldiers belong to the US base. Including the relatives, between 10,000 and 11,000 people live and work at the base. The US Air Force has been present in Spangdahlem since the mid-1950s.
Original text: dpa
Translation: Mareike Graepel