Swiss fighter crashes in Netherlands ahead of air show
A Swiss fighter crashed and burst into flames in the Netherlands Thursday after hitting another jet during a training session before an air show, officials said.
"Two Tiger F-5E plans from the Patrouille Suisse collided this afternoon during a training flight for an air show in Leeuwarden," the Swiss defence ministry said.
The pilot from the aerobatics team of the Swiss air force ejected to safety, Dutch and Swiss officials said.
Swiss defence officials said the cause of the collision was not clear.
But his jet crashed into a large pond in the northern Friesland village of Beetgum, bursting into flames, near the Leeuwarden air base which is hosting a major air show this weekend.
"The pilot ejected to safety," the local Friesen fire brigade said on its Twitter account.
He fell through nearby agricultural greenhouses and was taken to hospital, the Dutch broadcaster NOS reported.
Television images showed a plume of smoke rising from the burning wreckage, which looked to have narrowly avoided slamming into a nearby house.
Swiss airforce commander Aldo Schellenberg told a press conference in Bern the second aircraft had only suffered minor damage and would be repaired.
"The two pilots involved in the accident are very experienced," the Swiss news agency ATS quoted him as saying.
Schellenberg added the pilot whose plane crashed suffered only scratches while his colleague in the other aircraft was unhurt.
© 2016 AFP