eurofighter crash

Plumes of smoke as fighter jets crash over Germany
A pilot has been killed in an air collision involving two German air force Eurofighter jets in the Müritz area of north-eastern Germany.

While both pilots managed to eject from the planes, only one of them survived.

One of the Eurofighters went down in a forest while the other crashed near a village about 10km (6 miles) away, the interior ministry in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania said.

The pilot who survived was found dangling from a tree by rescue teams.

eurofighter jet
© REUTERS
A forest official stands next to fighter jet debris
The mid-air collision happened as three Eurofighter Typhoons were taking part in an air combat exercise shortly after 14:00 (12:00 GMT), about 20 minutes after they had taken off.

The third pilot witnessed the collision over the Fleesensee and reported seeing two parachutes.

"All three aircraft were unarmed, and after 20 minutes for unknown reasons, two of the three Eurofighters touched each other in the air," air force commander Ingo Gerhartz said.

"According to the third pilot, who is of course still in shock, he could see the two parachutes attached to the eject seats and he confirmed that both parachutes could be seen."

Eurofighter
© AFP
File picture of two Eurofighter jets stationed at the same base near Rostock
Local media showed footage of the smoke from both planes after they hit the ground.

One of the pilots was found alive by rescuers near the village of Nossentiner Hütte, and residents said the fire brigade quickly brought the fire at the scene under control.

The other was found dead, officials said.

The mayor of Nossentiner Hütte, Birgit Kurth, told Germany's NDR radio station she was "relieved" that the pilot had survived and that the plane had not come down in the village or caused further damage.

Police had earlier warned that debris from the crash had been strewn over a large area and could be dangerous.

The second plane went down in a wooded area near the village of Jabel.

Images of the crash site in Jabel showed officials surveying the area, with debris scattered across a field.

The two planes were based at Laage near the district of Rostock, home to the "Steinhoff" Tactical Air Force Wing 73. Neither plane was carrying weapons.

Built by a European consortium of Airbus, the UK's BAE Systems and Italy's Leonardo, the fighter costs around €90m (£80m).

Germany's military has some 140 Eurofighter Typhoons but has struggled to keep them ready for combat. A report last year said only four of its planes were available because of a leak of cooling fluid in the wing sensors.