By Shereen Siewert
An F-16 fighter jet with the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing at Madison’s Truax Field crashed Tuesday in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs confirmed.
The crash was reported at about 8 p.m. with one pilot on board during a routine training mission, officials said.
WLUC television in Marquette, Michigan, reports the crash happened just north of the Garden Peninsula along the Delta-Schoolcraft county line in the Hiawatha National Forest, about 225 miles northeast of Madison.
The fate of the pilot is yet unknown. WLUC reports emergency responders are on scene, searching for the pilot, with more crews expected early Wednesday. Poor cell phone connectivity in the very rural area is hindering communication efforts, the station reports.
Tuesday was the first of four planned days of training operations, according to a Facebook post on the Fighter Wings’ page.
“Area residents may see or hear F-16 fighter jets taking off or landing until approximately 10:00 p.m. Training flights normally take place during daylight hours, but pilots and maintenance personnel are required to conduct evening/nighttime operations as part of their overall readiness. Pilots will follow flight paths designed to minimize noise to area residents,” the post said.
According to the 115th Fighter Wing’s website, the F-16 Fighting Falcon is a “compact, multi-role” fighter aircraft with an “all-weather capability” that allows it to deliver ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions. The aircraft can fly at speeds of up to 1,500 mph with a range of more than 2,000 miles.
The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.