Investigators believe pilot error caused German Eurofighter crash: Spiegel

FILE PHOTO: German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon takes-off during the air policing scramble in Amari air base, Estonia, March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Investigators looking into the crash this week of two German air force Eurofighter warplanes have ruled out mechanical failure, making pilot error the most likely cause, Der Spiegel reported.

The mid-air collision over north-east Germany, in which one pilot died, occurred during a training exercise. It was the first major accident to hit Germany’s 140-strong fleet of Eurofighters.

The defense ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Investigators had cleared the rest of the fleet - built by a consortium of Airbus, BAE and Leonardo - to carry on flying, the news magazine said, without citing a source.

Among the possibilities that investigators are considering are that one of the pilots failed to see the other during the high-risk pursuit drill or that positioning messages were misheard over the radio, it said.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; editing by John Stonestreet