Rescue efforts underway as F-16 crash leads to search for missing 115th fighter wing pilot

News


Jeff Richgels

The Wisconsin State Journal

An F-16 jet of the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field in Madison crashed Tuesday night in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs reported.

When the crash happened about 8 p.m., the jet was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board, the department said in a statement.

The status of the pilot had not been released as of about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

WLUC television in Marquette, Michigan, reported that a search was on for the pilot, and that poor cell phone connectivity in the very rural area was hindering communication efforts.

The station said the crash occurred just north of the Garden Peninsula along the Delta-Schoolcraft county line in the Hiawatha National Forest. The Garden Peninsula is east of Escanaba, Michigan, and northeast of Washington Island, Wisconsin, and juts out into Lake Michigan.

The crashed occurred on the first of four consecutive days of training operations scheduled to conclude Thursday, according to a post Sunday on the 115th Fighter Wing’s Facebook page.

“Area residents may see or hear F-16 fighter jets taking off or landing until approximately 10:00 p.m. Training flights normally take place during daylight hours, but pilots and maintenance personnel are required to conduct evening/nighttime operations as part of their overall readiness. Pilots will follow flight paths designed to minimize noise to area residents,” the post said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, the department said.

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