Two Belgian Air Force pilots ejected from their F-16 fighter before it crashed in northern France after snagging a house roof, with one left suspended by parachute cord from a high-voltage electrical wire.
The Belgian Air Force confirmed in a statement at around 12 p.m. local time that an F-16 had crashed near Lorient.
“The pilots managed to escape the crashing plane with the ejector seats,” the Air Force said the statement.
One of the pilots was left hanging on an electricity cable running between pylons.
The plane was not carrying any weapons, according to authorities, and both pilots are alive and well.
Images of the pilot hanging on the cable were shown by local newspaper Le Telegramme, together with pictures of black smoke and flames rising from the area.
#Crash aérien d’un avion militaire belge entre Landaul et Pluvigner – Jeudi 19 septembre 2019
La préfecture du Morbihan a été informée à 10h38, ce jeudi 19 sept 2019, du crash d’un avion militaire belge sur la RD 16 entre #Landaul et #Pluvigner… pic.twitter.com/8lBvhKkjou
— Préfet du Morbihan (@Prefet56) September 19, 2019
Eyewitness Patrick Kauffer told the station, “Yes, we can say it’s a miracle, the wing of the plane tore off some of the roof on the north side of our house, the damage is impressive: the trees and the shed were on fire when my wife was evacuated “.
Local authorities in Morbihan said that a 500m security perimeter had been was set up around the site of the air crash and that 40 firefighters and 20 rescue vehicles had been mobilized.
“This F-16-type aircraft was unarmed and its cargo is under investigation,” said a statement by the Morbihan local government. “The pilot and his co-pilot were able to eject before the crash. They have both been located and are alive.”
“One of them has already been supported by the emergency services deployed on-site,” said the statement. “The second is currently suspended on a high-voltage line by his parachute. RTE’s services are on hand to help the soldier’s recovery.”
The incident occurred at around 10:30 a.m. local time on Sept. 19, according to the local authorities.
The F-16 was flying from Florennes in Belgium and was heading to the Lann-Bihoué Naval Air Station in south Britanny.
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Author: Simon Veazey