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Fighter jet crashes in central Switzerland, without injuries

crashed plane
The downed F-5 in the mountains near Melchsee-Frutt, central Switzerland. Keystone

A Swiss F-5 Tiger fighter jet has crashed in the Swiss Alps, but the pilot managed to escape unhurt.

The defence ministry said the incident happened in an uninhabited area near the resort of Melchsee-Frutt in central Switzerland on Wednesday.

The pilot, who was on a training ride as a “sparring partner” for two other air force fighters, managed to eject before the plane went down. Details of the cause of the crash are as of yet unknown.

The plane was a Northrop F-5 Tiger model – one of two types of fighters currently operated by the Swiss air force, along with the Boeing F/A-18.

The Swiss army has 26 F-5 Tigers, purchased in 1978, and used now only for training purposes, in daylight and in clear weather conditions.

Last September, a slim majority of Swiss voters approved the granting of CHF6 billion ($6.7 billion) in credit to the Swiss air force to renew its ageing fleet by 2030. The procurement process, involving two American and two European manufacturers, is ongoing. The model chosen is to be announced before the end of next month.

The air force has suffered a few crashes over the past decade, including a F/A-18 that went down in the French Jura in 2015 (for which the pilot was last year acquitted of negligence) and a collision between two Swiss F-5s in the Netherlands in 2016, caused by pilot error.

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