STEUBEN, Mich. (AP) — A Wisconsin-based fighter jet crashed in a national forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula while on a training mission and searchers were looking Wednesday for the pilot, who was the only person aboard, authorities said.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field Air National Guard Base in Madison crashed about 8 p.m. Tuesday, the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs said in a statement.
The cause of the crash, as well as the status of the pilot, weren’t immediately known, the statement said. The plane went down in Hiawatha National Forest, about 250 miles (402 kilometers) northeast of the base.
“We are a close knit family and when an incident like this occurs, every member in our organization feels it,” said Col. Bart Van Roo, 115th Fighter Wing commander. “Right now 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.”
The 115th Fighter Wing participated in a coordinated search effort with local emergency responders, the U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies overnight. Search and rescue efforts on the ground, in the air, and in the water continued, the department said Wednesday.
The crash site is in Delta County, which is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It was initially secured by local emergency responders, but military personnel and safety and security personnel from the 115th Fighter Wing have now responded, the department said.
Delta County Sheriff Ed Oswald said the crash occurred in the county’s northeastern corner in a rural area within Hiawatha National Forest, which spans about 879,000 acres (355,718 hectares), according to the forest’s website.
“It’s a very remote area with no cellphone service,” he said.
The closest community to the crash site is the small village of Steuben, located in adjacent Doorcraft County, Oswald said. The sheriff’s office has blocked off local roads in the crash area, where he and his deputies did not see any fire or flames in the crash area overnight.
The incident remains under investigation.
(© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
More On WCCO.com:
- Stimulus Check Update: When Could The Third Payment Arrive?
- Nearly 200 Workers At St. Paul Park Refinery Go On Strike
- Minnesota Weather: 3-6 Inches Of Snow Will Fall In Southern MN On Saturday
- Sen. Klobuchar Says MN Troops Not Among Nat'l Guard Sent To Rest In DC Parking Garage, Calls Incident 'Appalling'