German Pilot Killed After Jet Hits Swiss Mountain | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 13.04.2007
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German Pilot Killed After Jet Hits Swiss Mountain

A German air force pilot was killed on Thursday when his Tornado military jet crashed into a mountain face in the Swiss Alps, the Swiss authorities said.

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The jet was "practically pulverized"

A rescue helicopter found the pilot on a glacier near the crash site near the village of Lauterbrunnen in central Switzerland, but he was later pronounced dead, a spokesman for police in the canton of Bern said.

The other crew member was injured and was retrieved by a mountain rescue team, the police said in a statement. Both pilots had managed to eject before the crash.

Jet was "pulverized"

The jet was "practically pulverized" when it slammed into the mountain-face, Swiss police told DRS radio.

Eyewitnesses told the Swiss news agency ATS that the jet had flown low through a nearby valley before trying to climb. Police said the jet reportedly exploded when it hit a mountain side.

Swiss Defense Ministry spokesman Martin Bühler said the German fighter-bomber had refueled shortly beforehand at a Swiss air force base after flying in from Corsica.

Deutschland Tornado Jäger für Afghanistan Luftwaffe

Six Tornado jets have been set to Afghanistan

The German Defense Ministry confirmed the crash. Although Switzerland is neutral, foreign military aircraft frequently take part in navigation exercises in Swiss airspace.

Germany last week sent six Tornado reconnaissance planes to Afghanistan to help NATO-led forces fighting the Taliban, but the defense ministry said the crashed Tornado did not come from the squadron charged with that mission.

The ministry said the cause of the crash was not immediately known.

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