On Tuesday, a US Air Force F-16 fighter crashed outside Trier, western Germany, with its pilot reportedly ejecting safely and being taken to hospital. US aircraft have been stationed at bases across continental Europe since the end of WWII, and Tuesday’s incident certainly wasn’t the first, even in the last decade.
- On October 8, 2019, a US Air Force F-16C/D Fighting Falcon crashed over an uninhabited strip of land near the western German city of Trier, with a US Air Force spokesperson saying the crash took place at around 15:00 local time during a routine training flight. No casualties were reported. The area around the crash site has been closed off, with police urging people to stay away, as a rescue operation was said to be underway.
- On October 8, 2014, a US Air Force F-15 Eagle slammed into a field in Broadgate, Lincolnshire, England, with its pilot successfully ejecting and suffering only minor injuries. The crash was later attributed to a fault in the plane’s nose cap.
- On January 7, 2014, a US HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter based at a Royal Air Force Base in Suffolk, UK crashed near the town of Cley-next-the-Sea in Norfolk, killing all four crew members onboard. An investigation concluded that a bird strike caused the incident.
- On April 1, 2011, a US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II based at Spangdahlem Air Base crashed in the western German municipality of Laufeld, with the pilot successfully ejecting without incident. Investigators later blamed pilot error and bad weather.
- On February 3, 2010, a US Army Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Mannheim, southwestern Germany, killing three crewmembers onboard, with the crash taking place during low visibility and heavy rain. The Army released a report in August 2010 saying it could not determine the cause of the crash.
The US Air Forces in Europe command has seven major operating bases throughout the continent, with dozens of smaller facilities which it has access to. In Germany, this includes the Buchel Air Base, Ramstein Air Base and Spangdahlem Air Base.