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German Warplane Crashes in N.M.

May 16, 2002

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HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AP) _ A German warplane stationed at Holloman Air Force Base crashed in the mountains, igniting a forest fire. One crewman was injured and a search was under way Thursday for the other crewmember.

The German Tornado crashed Wednesday night in upper Laborcita Canyon near Bent in the Sacramento Mountains about 20 miles northeast of the base. The wreckage lay scattered among the ponderosa pines, where the crash sparked a forest fire. Firefighters on Thursday battled the blaze, which burned over about 10 to 20 acres.

A crewman who ejected was found in the forest with undetermined injuries, military officials said. He was able to walk about 250 yards when he realized smoke from the fire was getting closer, a rescuer said.

Searchers were trying to find the other crewmember, military officials said.

The cause of the crash was not known.

The first contingent of German Tornado aircraft arrived at Holloman in March 1996. More than 300 German Air Force members are permanently assigned to the training center, which is the only one of its kind in the United States.

The center serves as the parent command for two German air crew training squadrons.


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