Swiss fighter jet crashes, 2 crew missing

| Zoom

GENEVA (AP) - A Swiss F/A-18 two-seater fighter jet crashed in poor weather in central Switzerland and the pilot and a passenger were missing, the military said Wednesday.

The Swiss Federal Department of Defense confirmed the fighter jet went down around noon near a military airport in Alpnachstad in the Lake Lucerne region.

Swiss Air Force Commander Lt. Aldo Schellenberg told reporters the plane was one of two F/A-18s that had taken off from the Meiringen air base in canton (state) Bern on a training mission.

The other plane, a one-seater, returned safely to Meiringen a couple hours later.

Armed Forces Chief Lt. Gen. Andre Blattmann said the images collected so far from the crash raised fears that the two missing crew had not survived. "There's no hard evidence, but we cannot be confident," he said.

Military officials said the fighter jet was unarmed when it hit a cliff overlooking Lake Alpnach. It also wasn't clear whether the ejector seat was activated.

A helicopter and emergency services were deployed at the crash site. A nearby railway line and road were closed.

In the mid-1990s, the Swiss Air Force acquired more than 30 of the F/A-18s. This is the second crash involving one of the fleet.

The last jet went down in 1998 in the Swiss Alps, killing the two pilots and injuring several others.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Trial Beginning
    Twelve Seattle police officers will begin using new body-worn cameras next week

  • Week in Photos
    Penguins, cheetahs and Santa make it in this week's photos
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.