Two German Eurofighter jets collide in training, one pilot dead

Two Eurofighter EF-2000s of the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force, collided during a training mission. While both pilots managed to eject, one of them was found dead.

The two aircraft “were on an Air Combat Mission with a third Eurofighter. The pilot of the third Eurofighter observed the collision and said he saw two parachutes land,” said the Luftwaffe on Twitter, adding in a press release that the fighter jets were not armed. The three EF-2000s involved belonged to the Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader (Tactical Air Force Wing) 73 “Steinhoff” based at Laage Airport near Rostock, northeastern Germany.

The two crash sites were found ten kilometers apart. One of the pilots was found after he landed in a tree, and was taken to a hospital. As for the second one, he was not immediately located. The Luftwaffe announced later that he did not survive to the ejection.

Debris was scattered over a vast area and the local population has been asked not to approach it. Der Spiegel reported that two firefighters were slightly injured after inhaling toxic fumes. Operations to secure the crash sites and recover debris continued late into the night and could last for a whole week. The flight recorders were recovered on June 25, 2019.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen expressed her sympathy to the pilot’s relatives and thanked the forces and people for their help “at this difficult hour,” before announcing the opening of an investigation. The other fighter jets of the Tactical Air Force Wing 73 have been grounded.

It is the second time in recent years that an EF-2000 of the Luftwaffe is involved in a deadly crash. In June 2014, one of the fighter jets belonging to Tactical Air Force Wing 31 based in Nörvenich Air Base collided with a Learjet that was acting as a target during an interception exercise. While the EF-2000 managed to land safely, the Learjet crashed, killing its two occupants.

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