Apparent wreckage of Air Force fighter jet found

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE (BestGrowthStock) – Search and rescue teams on Wednesday spotted what appears to be the wreckage of an Air Force fighter jet that went missing during a nighttime training mission over Alaska, officials said.

The fate of the pilot, whose name has not been released, remained uncertain, and Air Force officials held out hope that he might have survived.

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor disappeared from radar as the aircraft and another jet were heading back to base at about 7:40 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The pilot of the second plane searched Tuesday night for the missing jet without success.

The probable crash site was spotted Wednesday morning about 100 miles north of Anchorage by an Alaska National Guard helicopter crew, said Colonel Jack McMullen, commander of the Air Force 3rd Wing.

The National Guard crew was unable to land, but a second helicopter team was en route and attempting to land, he told reporters at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

“We have not confirmed that he is with the plane,” McMullen said of the pilot. “We’re going to continue looking for him until we have confirmation.”

He added that the pilot was “arctic trained” to survive in the harsh climate. “He’s got the gear on. He’s got stuff in his survival kit so that he can hunker himself down.”

Teams from the Alaska Air National Guard and Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks using HH-60 helicopters and an HC-130 search and rescue aircraft took part in the search.

The Raptor, a single-seat, twin-engine fighter equipped with stealth technology, was assigned to the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf.

(Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Eric Walsh)

Apparent wreckage of Air Force fighter jet found