“What we can say: It was not a technical defect,” Sergeant Major Ralf Passing from the press center of the Air Force in Berlin told the SWR on Friday. Why this could be ruled out, he did not say. Experts secured at the crash site and collected traces more information.
No evidence of technical failure
Also, the Commodore of the Tactical Air Force Squadron 33, Colonel Andreas basket, said on Büchel air base, there is so far no evidence of a technical defect. The plane was old, but in good condition. “The machine was in the normal approach path, we fly every day,” said basket. Evidence of pilot error, there is so far not revealed. Both pilots were experienced pilots, said basket SWR.
Investigation may take half a year
A team of experts of the General Aviation Safety from Cologne has begun, according to the Bundeswehr with investigations at the accident site. The flight recorder, the so-called black box has been found and is currently being evaluated. The tornado was not completely shattered, but still largely in one piece. Investigations into the cause of the crash can last up to half a year, according to the Ministry of Defense.
Around the crash site in an uninhabited forest near the highway 48, a military exclusion zone was established. Also, the air space above the crash site is provisionally suspended.
Crew saves himself by ejection seat
The jet had crashed on Thursday night during a training flight southeast of Laubach (district Cochem-Zell). Pilot and co-pilot managed to escape with the ejection seat. One landed in a tree and had to be taken with a long ladder from the treetops. The other landed in an open field. Both have suffered a slight compression of the spine, according to a spokesman of the Armed Forces Central Hospital, Koblenz. The doctors believe that they can be released on Saturday.
The Bundeswehr Tornado was part of the Tactical Air Force Squadron 33, stationed at the airbase Büchel / Cochem. It stores by experts guess 10 to 20 U.S. nuclear warheads from the Cold War, for their use in case of emergency, the Bundeswehr Tornado fighter pilot holds. Which was never officially confirmed.
Local peace groups and environmental organizations called again after the crash to deduct suspected in Büchel nuclear weapons. The disaster makes it clear what dangers emanate from the airbase for residents and the environment, says Markus Pflueger, spokesman for the Working Group on Peace from Trier. “A crash over the nuclear stockpile could cause a disaster,” said a board member of the National Association of Citizens’ Initiatives for Environmental Protection (BBU).
Highway closed for hours
After the accident, the A was 48 initially completely closed between junctions Laubach and Kaisersesch for debris on the road. On Friday morning, a road was ever released. More people, buildings or cars were not affected by the Tornado crash. The A 48 counts, according to police at the low traffic highways in Germany.