Six Killed as Air Force Jet Crashes in W. German City
A U.S. Air Force jet carrying ammunition slammed into a residential area of this city today, setting buildings and homes on fire. Officials said at least six people were killed and dozens injured.
Rescue officials said the death toll could rise. Authorities were fighting flames as they tried to reach the scene of the crash.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II jet, a plane designed to support ground forces, was carrying 1,000 rounds of 30-millimeter training ammunition, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Ed Neunherz said.
He said the ammunition could explode on impact. Local officials said that there were several explosions after the crash and that they believe the blasts were caused by the ammunition.
A West German military spokesman, Gen. Botho Engelin, told reporters at the scene that six bodies had been pulled out of the wreckage, which was still smoking several hours after the crash. He said the dead included the pilot.
The crash is likely to increase public opposition to low-level military training flights over West Germany. That opposition grew in August when Italian stunt planes collided and crashed into a crowd of spectators at an air show at the U.S. air base in Ramstein, killing 70 people.
Since March 31, there have been 12 military air crashes in West Germany.
Reinhard Fleichmann, a city spokesman, said between 40 and 50 people were injured, many of them seriously.
“We haven’t even reached the aircraft. It’s still wedged into a burning house,” Fleischmann said.
A witness said: “A bright orange fireball went up. The aircraft slammed into a house about (55 yards) in front of me. Then there were explosions.”