U.S. F-16s Crash in Mid-Air; Another F-16 Crashes in Black Forest
BODENHEIM, West Germany (AP) _ Two U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets crashed in the air today and exploded, an air force spokeswoman said. The accident occurred less than two hours after another F-16 crashed into the Black Forest.
West German police said one pilot was killed in the in-flight crash.
The Air Force spokeswoman, Capt. Gail Hayes, said the aircraft were on a training mission when they crashed near Bodenheim, about six miles south of Mainz.
She said the aircraft, assigned to the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hahn Air Base, crashed at 1:30 p.m.
″There was one person aboard each aircraft. The condition of those on board is unknown,″ Ms. Hayes told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from U.S. Air Force European headquarters at Ramstein Air Base.
West German police spokesman Hugo Lenxweiler told the AP in a telephone interview that one of the pilots was killed in the accident.
″The other pilot was able to eject safely,″ Lenxweiler said.
Lenxweiler said he did not know if the pilot who ejected suffered any injuries. Identities of the pilots were not immediately released. He said the planes crashed within several hundred yards of a populated area but that no one on the ground was hurt.
He said preliminary information indicated that one of the F-16s rammed the other from behind. Both planes exploded on impact, he said.
The other crash occurred about 90 miles away.
Air Force Spokesman 1st Lt. Al Sattler said the pilot in the Black Forest crash ejected safely before the crash and was taken to Ramstein Air Base to be examined.
Police in Karlsruhe said the crash occurred at noon (6 a.m. EDT) near the village of Marxzell-Burbach.
Sattler said the aircraft was from the 52nd Tactical Fighter Wing, stationed at Spangdahlen Air Base.
The aircraft was taking part in a NATO military tactical air exercise being conducted from the Canadian air force base in Baden-Soellingen, Sattler said.
West German police and U.S. military personnel secured the area of the crashes, and teams of experts were sent to the accident sites to determine the cause of the crashes.