Military police and policemen at the intersection of Kolhontie and Heinäsentie in Keuruu on May 15, 2023. Heinäsentie is closed to traffic. An Air Force Hawk jet training aircraft crashed south of Keuruu during a training flight. The pilots were able to eject and safely parachute to the ground. LEHTIKUVA


The Central Finland Rescue Department received a report of an aviation accident south of Keuruu shortly after 2 p.m. The aircraft, an Air Force Hawk jet used for training purposes, crashed to the ground, but the pilots managed to eject using their ejection seats.

The Rescue Department is leading the rescue operations at the scene, while the police are directing traffic in the area.

The Air Force issued a statement on Twitter about the incident after 3 p.m.

According to the Air Force, both pilots involved in the accident have been located and have been taken for further medical examinations.

Markku Piilemä, a reporter for Suur-Keuruu, headed to the scene following the alarm from the Rescue Department. When Piilemä arrived, the police had already closed off the road approximately one kilometer before the accident site.

"Search helicopters and a rescue helicopter arrived at the scene. Just before I left, a Border Guard or Defense Forces helicopter landed in a nearby field," Piilemä recounts to Ilta-Sanomat after returning to the Suur-Keuruu office from the accident site.

"As I drove here to the office, a rescue department ATV with a trailer bed passed by. That could indicate that the pilots or pilot might have been injured. The pilots were conscious when the emergency medical services arrived."

The police closed off the road near the accident site on Heinäsentie. The police patrols in the photo were monitoring traffic on Kolhontie, where Heinäsentie branches off.

There were approximately six to seven police patrols, as well as emergency medical units and representatives from the defense forces at the scene. There was still limited information available about the accident situation.

"It was reportedly accompanied by a plume of smoke - a tremendous explosion sound and then a plume of smoke. That's what they were able to share," Piilemä said.

There were rumors at the scene that parachutes had been used and that some parachute fragments had been seen, but Piilemä emphasized that this information was "second- or third-hand."

The last time Hawk jets crashed in Finland was in 2013 when two Hawks collided in Lestijärvi. In that incident, a 30-year-old captain who worked as a flight instructor lost his life.