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F-16 crash in Bavaria: Public report expected within 90 days

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- The investigation into the Aug. 11 F-16C Fighting Falcon crash near Engelmannreuth in the county of Bayreuth, Germany, is currently ongoing.

"The purpose of this investigation is to determine what caused the incident so we can take steps in the future to prevent a similar outcome," said Col. Steve Horton, the 52nd Fighter Wing vice commander. "We are not rushing to judgment about the cause. The investigation will take time and will be thorough."

Two boards will meet: the Safety Investigation Board and the Accident Investigation Board. The SIB consists of qualified personnel who assess the impact on the aircraft system across the Air Force -- in this case, the F-16. The SIB's goal is to prevent future mishaps Air Force-wide and determine what, if any, internal processes need to be changed. The AIB will focus on the local impact and determining the actual cause of the incident.

Both boards are usually led by a senior pilot and involve looking at every piece of evidence, including photos of the scene, maintenance records, testimony from relevant personnel and aircraft debris. The AIB results in a publically releasable report, which is usually completed in 60-90 days.

The SIB takes roughly 30 days; however, half of their final report is not releasable to the public. The other half is passed on to the AIB, which takes approximately 60-90 days to complete its report. These results are released to the public.

"Given the trust that the public places in our Air Force and our wing, we strive to be as transparent as possible," Horton said.

The aircraft departed from Spangdahlem Air Base for a training flight near U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria in Grafenwoehr, Bavaria, Germany. The pilot jettisoned fuel tanks as part of established emergency procedures. There were no live munitions on board.

U.S. military first responders are working with German authorities to secure the crash site. A 1,000-foot cordon was established to protect the crash site and begin investigations.

"We will make every effort to prevent another incident or loss of life," Horton said. "We are working with German and U.S. Army agencies to ensure a thorough and efficient investigation is conducted to determine the cause of the incident and to mitigate the chances of this happening again."

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

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