Rescuers have recovered the bodies of the two people who were on board a Swiss F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet that crashed into a mountainside Oct. 23. (Fabrice Coffrini / AFP file)
GENEVA — Rescuers have recovered the bodies of the two people on board a Swiss army fighter jet that crashed into a mountainside, as well as the aircraft’s black box, the defense ministry said Thursday.
“Both people onboard the F/A-18 fighter jet that crashed yesterday have been found dead,” the ministry said in a statement.
The F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet was one of two that took off in the canton of Bern on Wednesday for a training mission, but it crashed shortly after into a cliff overlooking a branch of Lake Lucerne.
A professional air force pilot and his passenger, an air force doctor taking part in the training exercise, were killed in the crash.
Rescue workers had recovered both bodies and an autopsy had been ordered, the defense ministry said.
The aircraft’s black box had also been salvaged and was being examined. Depending on the condition of the box, the examination could take “days or even weeks,” the ministry added.
The army has launched an investigation into why the crash happened and has temporarily suspended all flights by its fleet of McDonnell Douglas single- and double-seated F/A-18s, which before Wednesday’s accident counted 33 fighters.
Another of the Swiss Hornets crashed in Crans-Montana in the south of the country in 1998, killing both pilots.