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Fighter Jet Crashes in Forest

A Hornet jet belonging to the Finnish Defence Forces went down in Juupajoki, some 200 kilometres north of Helsinki around noon on Thursday. The two pilots ejected themselves from the jet before it came crashing to the ground.

Ilmakuva koneen putoamispaikasta
Image: Ilmavoimat

Rescue workers located the pilots two kilometres from the scene of the crash an hour after the jet went down. Neither pilot sustained serious injuries; however the jet, a US-made F/A-18 Hornet, was completely destroyed.

Rescuers brought the 32-year-old captain and 44-year-old wing commander who parachuted out of the plane to Tampere University Hospital.

The jet had been flying a routine training mission for 40 minutes when it crashed in a forest on the edge of a field. No one else was injured in the crash.

The cause of the accident is still unknown.

History of Mishaps, Close Calls, but No Serious Injuries

The first of the US-built Hornet planes were acquired in late 1995. The first Finnish accident involving the model happened the following year, and it has been involved in eight mishaps and close calls. No serious injuries have occurred in any of them.

Potentially the worst situation until Thursday took place in 2001 in Lappajärvi, when there was a midair collision between two Hornets. One of them crashed in a swamp, while the other made it back to Pirkkala Airport.

Frankenplane

Monday's crash is linked with the one in 2001 in a curious way. The aircraft in question had been assembled using the rear part of the plane that had been damaged in the collision, and the front of a used plane from Canada.

The new aircraft was pieced together by the Finnish defence contractor Patria. The high-tech fighters are very expensive - the reassembly job alone cost about 15 million euros. It was dubbed the Frankenplane, according to a classic character from horror literature, who was likewise assembled from spare parts. With the crash in Juupajoki the Frankenplane also goes down in aviation history as a rare veteran of in-flight mishaps.

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