A Tornado crashed in the Swiss Alps.

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Nov 9, 2005
A German air force Tornado warplane crashed in the Swiss Alps on Thursday, killing one of the two crewmen, the defence ministry in Berlin said.

The other crewman survived and was taken to hospital.

Swiss air force officials said the jet was doing a navigation exercise, beginning in Corsica and ending in Germany. It had just taken off after refuelling near the Swiss city of Lucerne when it crashed near Stechelberg, due south of the city.

An eyewitness told the SDA news agency of Switzerland he had seen the jet not long before the crash as it flew low up a narrow Alpine valley and pulled up hard to cross mountains up to 4,000 metres high, but he had not seen or heard the crash.

SDA said the crew both ejected before impact and were soon after spotted on the snow. The jet was 'practically pulverized' when it slammed into the mountain-face, Swiss police told DRS radio.

Although Switzerland is neutral, Swiss authorities said such visits by foreign jets were commonplace and fully authorized.

Germany last week sent six Tornado reconnaissance planes to Afghanistan to help NATO-led forces fighting the Taliban, but the defence ministry said the crashed Tornado did not come from the squadron charged with that mission.

The ministry said the cause of the crash was not immediately known.

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