F-5 Tiger II fighter jet missing for 40 years is found in Rio Grande do SulF-5 Tiger II fighter jet missing for 40 years is found in Rio Grande do Sul

With the help of a fisherman and a sailor, several parts of the aircraft were found, such as the engines, landing gear, cannon, pylons, pieces of the fuselage, pieces of the wings, among other components

Air Force Agency, by Lieutenant Flávia Rocha

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB), through the Fifth Regional Air Command (V COMAR), in coordination with the Brazilian Navy and the Rio Grande do Sul State Fire Department, carried out searches in Lagoa dos Patos (RS), where debris identified as the wreckage of the F5E Tiger II fighter jet that disappeared 40 years ago was found. Several parts of the aircraft were found, such as the engines, landing gear, cannon, pylons, pieces of the fuselage, wing fragments, among other components.

According to the V COMAR Commander, Air Major Brigadier Marcelo Fornasiari Rivero, the mission, which took place from Wednesday (07/09) to Saturday (10/09), included the participation of the Brazilian Navy, military personnel from FAB and the Fire Department of RS. The search was conducted in a Benevente Patrol Vessel, and a Navy motorboat and a Fire Department motorboat were also used.

“In this joint operation it was possible to collect all the debris that was mapped, giving us the certainty that it belongs to the aircraft that disappeared 40 years ago. Our thanks to the Brazilian Navy, the Rio Grande do Sul Fire Department, and to the sailor and pilot Cristian who participated in this operation,” highlighted the General Officer.

On July 28, 1982, the F-5E fighter jet, registration FAB 4831, piloted by Air Lieutenant Edson Luiz Chiapetta Macedo disappeared while performing a simulated aerial combat against another F-5E, both stationed at the Canoas Air Base (BACO), in the training area over Patos Lagoon. Despite the search, no trace of the supersonic jet or the pilot had ever been found. Years after the accident, the missing pilot was promoted post-mortem to the rank of Major, i.e., a promotion intended to express military recognition for military personnel killed in the line of duty or as a result of it.

According to the Chief of the BACO Flight Safety Advisory, Major Cyríaco Bernardino Duarte de Almeida Brandão Júnior, the search only occurred thanks to the help of a fisherman, Josoé Ortiz, resident of Palmares do Sul (RS), who saw his mullet nets get caught in some submerged object in the vicinity of the deserted bank. Knowing that an F-5 fighter jet had disappeared in the region, he sent the images of small parts and the approximate location of the site to sailor and civilian pilot Cristian Yanzer de Lima, who had been looking for clues of the F-5 for about five years.

“Before starting the mission, we did briefings on the technical aspects of the F-5 aircraft, the location of the wreckage in addition to defining the search procedures. The wreckage of FAB 4831 was located at a depth of approximately 7.5 meters,” added Major Brandão.

According to Cristian Yanzer, after obtaining information from the fisherman, at dawn on August 11 he started the scanning of the VIKYNG sailboat with the Side Scan equipment (a sonar system used to search and detect objects under water).

“I always had the support of friends, from sailors to fishermen, who helped in the search. On the day, metallic reflections visible on the screen of the equipment indicated many pieces, some large, scattered on the bed of the lagoon, in a different place than we expected, and about 100 meters from where the nets were placed. With the sonar images and the pieces delivered by Josoé, I immediately contacted the V COMAR, through Colonel Biasus, fighter pilot and former commander of the Pampa Squadron and contemporary of the missing aviator in this fateful and sad accident. We did our best to accomplish this noble and humanitarian mission, asking God to soothe the bereaved hearts of the family and friends at the loss of their beloved one,” he said.

Also according to Major Brandão’s report, before the search resumed, there were meetings with Major Chiapetta’s family members, which were attended by the V COMAR Commander, Air Brigadier Major Rivero; the BACO Commander, Aviator Colonel Marcelo Zampier Bussmann; the Commander of the Navy Southern Naval Patrol Group, Frigate Captain Marcelo Rey; the Commander of the Patrol Ship Benevente, Corvette Captain Silveira; among others.

Photos: Brazilian Navy, Brazilian Air Force and Fire Department of the State of Rio Grande do Sul *** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI Team ***

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