Cause of fatal F-16 crash still unknown

13th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 September 2005, AMSTERDAM — The cause of the crash of the F-16 fighter jet which killed the Belgian pilot last week has yet to be established.

13 September 2005

AMSTERDAM — The cause of the crash of the F-16 fighter jet which killed the Belgian pilot last week has yet to be established.

An Air Force spokesperson said investigators want to examine the fragments of the plane as quickly as possible. But salvage efforts are being hampered by high winds and the currents in the North Sea.

Four F-16 jets took off from the Florennes Air Force base in Belgium on 11 September for a military exercise above the Dutch island of Vlieland.

During a climbing manoeuvre above the training area one of the jets disappeared from the radars on the other planes.

The pilots did not see their colleague's plane crash into the sea because of cloud cover.

A major rescue operation was mounted and the body of the pilot was recovered within a few hours.

A Belgian military investigation commission travelled to the scene of the accident. There were no witnesses who saw the plane plummet into the sea and the cause of the accident remains a mystery. Whatever happened occurred too quickly for the pilot to use his ejector seat.

There have been other fatal accidents involving Belgian F-16s in recent years.

A pilot was also killed after two Belgian F-16 air force jets crashed during a military exercise in Belgium in December 2003. Another pilot managed to eject and escaped unhurt.

The accident happened above woodland in the Marche-en-Famenne area in the south of the Belgium.

In April 2004, a Belgian F-16 crashed near the town of Sellingen in the Groningen province of the Netherlands.

The jet had collided with an ultra-light plane from a local flying club.

One of the two Belgian crew members died and the pilot of the ultra-light was also killed in the accident.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news and Belgian news

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