Wisconsin-based military pilot is missing after crashing F-16 jet during training in Michigan 

A Wisconsin Air National Guard pilot is missing after crashing an F-16 fighter jet in Michigan‘s Upper Peninsula during a routine training mission on Tuesday night.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon, which is assigned to the 115th Fighter Wing based in Madison, Wisconsin, crashed at around 8pm last night, the guard reported. 

It’s believed the aircraft went down just north of the Garden Peninsula along the Delta-Schoolcraft county line in the Hiawatha National Forest, according to WLUC

At the time of the incident, the aircraft was partaking in a routine training mission with one pilot on board.

The cause of the crash and the status of the pilot are unknown at this time. 

The F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed at around 8pm Tuesday night in the Hiawatha National Forest

The F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed at around 8pm Tuesday night in the Hiawatha National Forest

The F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed at around 8pm Tuesday night in the Hiawatha National Forest

So far, neither the pilot nor the aircraft has been found.  

Searches were conducted by emergency service crews and the US Coast Guard throughout Tuesday night. 

U.S. Forest Service workers also assisted local authorities in the search and set up a perimeter in the area.

Search and rescue efforts continued Wednesday morning on the ground, in the air, and in the water. 

More emergency service units and military teams are said to have arrived on scene to assist in the effort this morning.

Poor cell phone connectivity in the very rural area is reportedly hindering communication efforts. 

According to local media reports and unconfirmed police scanner traffic from emergency crews in the area, authorities have located a crash site in Delta County.

Officials also have a broad area identified that could be the pilot’s ejection site, Michigan Live reported.  

The crash sight was initially secured by local emergency responders, but military personnel and safety and security personnel from the 115th Fighter Wing are now on site. 

Additional personnel will be sent later today to help facilitate the safety and security of the crash site, the guard said.

115th Fighter Wing commander Col. Bart Van Roo said: ‘We are a close-knit family and when an incident like this occurs, every member in our organization feels it.

‘The safety of our pilot along with search and rescue efforts are our top priority, and we will continue to pray for the pilot’s safe return.’ 

Searches were conducted by emergency service crews throughout Tuesday night. U.S. Forest Service workers joined local authorities in the search and set up a perimeter in the area

Searches were conducted by emergency service crews throughout Tuesday night. U.S. Forest Service workers joined local authorities in the search and set up a perimeter in the area

Searches were conducted by emergency service crews throughout Tuesday night. U.S. Forest Service workers joined local authorities in the search and set up a perimeter in the area

The pilot is assigned to the 115th Fighter Wing based in Madison, Wisconsin (above)

The pilot is assigned to the 115th Fighter Wing based in Madison, Wisconsin (above)

The pilot is assigned to the 115th Fighter Wing based in Madison, Wisconsin (above)

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement that he was ‘devastated’ to learn on Tuesday night’s crash.  

‘As search and rescue operations continue, Kathy and I are hoping and praying for the pilot’s safe return,’ he said. ‘Our hearts go out to [the] pilot’s family as well as the members of the 115th Fighter Wing as they continue working to bring the pilot home.’

The 115th Fighter Wing is conducting evening training missions this week, according to a statement posted to its Facebook page, with aircraft reportedly taking off or landing as late as 10pm.

Training flights normally take place during daylight hours, but pilots and maintenance personnel are required to conduct evening and nighttime operations as part of their overall readiness, the guard said.

Pilots are tasked with following flight paths designed to minimize noise to residents. 

The 115th Fighter Wing training missions were set to come to an end on December 10.  

Originally built for the U.S. Air Force, F-16s – also referred to as vipers – gained a reputation as a nimble, multi-role fighter plane. 

The aircraft continue to be in wide use by different military groups, including the Air National Guard. 

Link hienalouca.com

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