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Belgian F-16 crew ejects, one dangles on power line until saved

  • September 19, 2019

Emergency workers freed the dangling pilot after shutting down power near the town of Pluvigner in the Morbihan area of France’s Brittany region, regional administrators said, adding “they were both located and are alive.”

The house the plane hit lost a portion of its roof and facade before the fighter jet plunged to ground and set a field on fire. Surrounding homes were evacuated.

Beglium’s defense ministry said its pilots had “sustained only minor injuries,” adding that air safety investigators were heading to France. 

‘Training flight’

The plane had been on a training flight from the Forennnes air base in Belgium to the Lann-Bihoue aeronautical base near Lorient, adjacent to France’s Atlantic coast.

The Belgian Defense Ministry said the crew had signaled an “engine technical problem,” but did not elaborate.

The regional prefecture said the plane had not been armed.

Residents ‘shocked’

Resident Ludovic Kauffer told the local newspaper Le Telegramm that his parents were at home when the F-16’s wing “took out part of the roof of our house” while also setting ablaze a shed and some trees.

Belgien Luftwaffe Kampfjet F-16 (picture-alliance/dpa/Y. Jansens)

F-16 at Belgium’s Kleine Brogel air base

“My mother is in shock, my father too,” said Kauffer. “The most important thing is that everyone is OK.”

The Belgian air force operates about 50 F-16 fighter jets supplied by the US defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

ipj/msh (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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