Swiss investigators locate crashed F/A-18D data recorder

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Accident investigators have located the flight data recorder from a Swiss air force Boeing F/A-18D which crashed into a mountainside on 23 October, as efforts to recover its second crew member continue.

The body of one pilot has now been retrieved, the nation’s defence ministry says, with recovery efforts having been hampered by difficult terrain at the accident site. The flight data recorder is expected to be removed for analysis “during the course of the day”, it adds.

A pair of Hornets took off from Meiringen air base at 13:35 local time to conduct a sortie planned to include air policing and air combat training, the defence ministry says. The two-seat trainer crashed near Alpnachstad during the activity, after which the pilot of a single-seat F/A-18C returned to Meiringen.

The Swiss air force has temporarily suspended operations with its Hornet fleet until the factors behind the accident have been determined.

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Switzerland’s F/A-18 inventory has been reduced to 32 aircraft as a result of the incident, according toFlightglobal's MiliCAS database, with its D-model trainer fleet now totalling six examples.