US Air Force attack jet crashes in Germany

AP News
Posted: Apr 01, 2011 1:47 PM
US Air Force attack jet crashes in Germany

A U.S. Air Force attack jet on a training mission crashed in western Germany on Friday, injuring the pilot as he ejected to safety, authorities said.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II went down near the village of Laufeld, between the former West German capital of Bonn and Trier, police spokeswoman Monika Peters said.

The pilot has been hospitalized and is in "good condition," according to a military statement.

The jet crashed in a field just about 330 yards (300 meters) from Laufeld's residential area, Peters said. The town's mayor, Karl-Josef Junk, told the German news agency DAPD that a catastrophe was "narrowly avoided."

The twin-engine A-10 is used to provide close air support for ground forces by attacking tanks and other targets.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze following the crash, Peters said.

The aircraft, also known as the Warthog, was part of the 81st Fighter Squadron at the Spangdahlem Air Base, in Rhineland Palatinate, said Senior Airman Nathanael Callon, a spokesman for the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem.

The 52nd Fighter Wing said in a statement the A-10 was "was on a routine local training mission" when it crashed Friday afternoon.

The pilot's identity is withheld pending the notification of his family members. A board of officers will investigate the accident, the statement said.

Spangdahlem Air Base, founded in May 1948, is one of 16 major operating locations for the U.S. Air Force in Europe, and about 5,500 military personnel are currently assigned to the base, according to its website.