ZURICH, Sept 6 An air traffic controller gave a
Swiss air force fighter pilot too low an altitude at which to
fly moments before his jet slammed into a cloud-draped mountain
last month, killing him, the defence ministry said on Tuesday.
Preliminary results of an investigation found the
27-year-old pilot was told to fly at 10,000 feet (3,050 metres)
after losing radar contact with his team leader soon after
takeoff. His F/A 18 fighter hit the mountain at around 3,300
The minimum safe altitude for flying in the sector was
14,300 feet, the ministry said.
"Why the air traffic controller ordered this too-low
altitude and which influence this had on the further course of
the flight is subject of the investigation," it said.
The crash was the third by a Swiss Air Force F/A 18 in the
past three years. A Swiss F-5E air demonstration fighter jet
collided with another plane and crashed into a pond in the
northern Netherlands ahead of an air show in June.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Dominic Evans)