About 15,000 people marched with torches Saturday to protest low-altitude military training flights just two days after a U.S. Air Force jet crashed in Remscheid, killing six people.
Five bodies, including the American pilot whose parachute was found stuck in a tree, were dug out of the ruins by Friday. A fire brigade official said a sixth person had died but rescuers could not find him. He was a construction worker who had been repairing one of the buildings the Thunderbolt anti-tank jet plowed through in the crash Thursday.The worker was probably consumed by the fire, which burned out three multistory apartment buildings, the official said.
The worker's two colleagues, who also had been working from scaffolding around the building demolished by the crash, were among the dead accounted for.
The search with dogs for victims possibly buried in the rubble continued Saturday but rescue officials said there was little likelihood more than six people had died.
Some 50 people were injured, nine seriously.
The torchlight parade late Saturday afternoon by about 15,000 people was organized by left-wing and church groups under the slogan: "Ramstein, Remscheid, who protects us against our protecters? Stop this madness."
The jet crash in the city 40 miles north of Bonn followed the Aug. 28 Ramstein U.S. Air Base disaster in which three Italian stunt planes collided, killing 70 people.
The Remscheid tragedy triggered new calls from West German opposition leaders for an end to military training flights over residential areas in the country. The West German Luftwaffe, the U.S. Air Force and other allies agreed to suspend them until Jan. 2.
The West German Air force chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Horst Jungkurth, speculated Friday that pilot error might have caused the crash of the A-10 anti-tank fighter.
The pilot, Capt. Michael P. Foster, 34, may have lost his orientation in climbing to get out of fog, crashing into a working-class district on a slope in Remscheid, Jungkurth said, noting that the A-10 Thunderbolt has an excellent safety record.
The A-10, assigned to the 81st tactical fighter wing at the Royal Air Force base at Bentwaters, England, was deployed to Norvenich near Remscheid. Foster took off with another Thunderbolt, climbing to 2,000-3,000 feet in clear weather, but they flew into clouds and lost each other, U.S. Air Force officials said.
The A-10, which had been heading for a low-altitude exercise, carried 1,000 rounds of training ammunition. It is a ground attack plane designed to attack enemy tanks at low altitude.
About 90 people lost their homes in the crash and were staying with relatives or given shelter in schools by the Red Cross.