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1988 Remscheid A-10 crash

The 1988 Remscheid A-10 crash occurred on December 8, 1988, when an A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jet of the United States Air Force crashed onto a residential area in the city of Remscheid, West Germany. The aircraft crashed into the upper floor of an apartment complex. In addition to the pilot, five people were killed. Fifty others were injured, many of them seriously.

1988 Remscheid A-10 crash
1988 Remscheid A-10 crash site.jpg
1988 Remscheid A-10 crash site
DateDecember 8, 1988
SummaryCrash during low-altitude flight
SiteRemscheid, West Germany
51°11′11″N 7°09′38″E / 51.18639°N 7.16056°E / 51.18639; 7.16056Coordinates: 51°11′11″N 7°09′38″E / 51.18639°N 7.16056°E / 51.18639; 7.16056
Aircraft typeA-10 Thunderbolt II
OperatorUnited States Air Force
Flight originNörvenich Air Base
Fatalities6, including 5 on the ground
Injuries50 (all on the ground)

According to press reports[1] the plane was engaged in a low-altitude flight exercise. It belonged to a unit from Bentwaters Air Base but at the time of the accident was stationed at Nörvenich Air Base, a so-called Forward Operation Location (FOL).[2]

The flight leader, Captain Marke F. Gibson[3], was leading his flight followed by his wingman, Captain Michael P. Foster. The cause of the accident was attributed to spatial disorientation, after both planes encountered difficult and adverse weather conditions for visual flying. Captain Gibson was able to manoeuvrer his aircraft to safety, but Captain Foster's aircraft crashed into the houses in Stockder Strasse. [4]


When the number of cancer cases in the vicinity of the accident rose disproportionately in the years after, suspicion rose that the jet, contrary to US statements, may have been loaded with ammunition containing depleted uranium.[5][6] This was denied by the US military. However, 70 tons of top soil from the accident scene was removed and taken away to a depot.[7] Also, film material taken during the top-soil removal show radiation warning signs. [8]

In 2002, however, a test of soil samples from 250 meters around the crash site revealed no traces of depleted uranium.[9]

120 residents and rescue workers reported skin diseases. Medical diagnosis concluded that these symptoms related to toxic irritative Dermatitis.[10]

Damages accounted to approximately DM 13 million and were covered 75% by the US Air Force and 25% by the West German Government.


  1. ^ "West Germany / United States Plane Crash NBC News broadcast from the Vanderbilt Television News Archive". Archived from the original on 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  2. ^ Westminster, Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 12 Dec 1988". Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Wilhelm Bittorf: Ich hab' meinen Flügelmann verloren. In: Der Spiegel, Ausgabe 52/1988.
  5. ^ Hindin, Rita; Brugge, Doug; Panikkar, Bindu (26 August 2005). "Teratogenicity of depleted uranium aerosols: A review from an epidemiological perspective". 4 (1): 17. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-4-17. PMC 1242351. PMID 16124873. Retrieved 30 April 2017 – via Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ hier und heute 1988 in german,
  7. ^ Remscheid-Absturz mit Folgen, 13. Oktober 1989
  8. ^ "Starb Kind wegen Uranverseuchung?". in DerSpiegel. 2001-01-13. Retrieved 2018-05-18.
  9. ^ "Umweltministerium NRW: Startseite". Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  10. ^ Flugzeugabsturz in Remscheid 1988: Der Schock sitzt immer noch tief, 8. Dezember 2008

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