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Mirage 2000 Crew of disappeared French fighter confirmed dead

fighter jet

The Mirage 2000 is a single-engine fourth-generation jet fighter designed in the late 1970s as a lightweight fighter to replace the Mirage III for the French Air Force.

(Keystone)

A pilot and a navigator of a French fighter plane that disappeared from radar in the Jura mountains on the French-Swiss border have been declared dead.

The Mirage 2000 took off on Wednesday for a training exercise from Nancy-Ochey military airport in north-eastern France with two crew members, according to the Doubs regional authorities.

A French Air Force spokeswoman said the aircraft was last sighted over a snow-covered mountainous area between the regions of Haut-Doubs and Haut-Jura near Geneva shortly after 11am on Wednesday. The AFP news agency and the newspaper "L'Est Républicain" reported that debris, including a map and a parachute, was found near the village of Mignovillard in eastern France.

On Thursday evening, Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, confirmed the two on board had died.

Near Swiss border

The Jura Gendarmerie said on its Facebook pageexternal link that the plane had been flying over the Jura mountains between Mouthe and Mignovillard in France, and the Swiss border.

The last fatal accident of the French air force was in 2011. More recently, on September 28, 2017, a French Mirage 2000 crashed on takeoff from the N'Djamena base in Chad. The pilot and navigator managed to eject before the crash.

The Mirage 2000 “was unarmed and did not have an additional fuel tank”, according to the Doubs authorities.

Keystone-SDA/jdp

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