As the jet went down while it was travelling from Belgium to a French base during a training mission around 10:30 a.m. local time, both pilots managed to successfully eject themselves, with one getting stuck on a high-voltage power line.
Officials said in a statement that it took two hours for the pilot left hanging from his parachute to be rescued from the power line.
The other pilot was found safely on the ground.
Their jet, however, didn’t make it — it crashed into the town of Pluvigner in the Morbihan region of northwestern France.
Officials said both pilots had been injured, but the extent of these injuries was not made clear.
According to local newspaper Ouest-France, the aircraft took off from Florennes airbase in Namur, Belgium. The two were en route to Lann-Bihoué, an airbase in Morbihan.
A Belgian defence ministry spokesperson says an investigation is underway by the Aviation Safety Directorate.
“We were in the garden. There were aircraft passing overhead, over the trees,” a Morbihan resident told Ouest-France.
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The crash damaged part of a home’s roof. The owners were uninjured and evacuated shortly after, the publication reports.
Patrick Kauffer told Le Télégramme that a wing of the plane took out part of the roof of his house.
Security forces in the area evacuated a total of eights homes with 15 residents.
“We heard a loud bang and the noise of metal tearing. A few moments later, there was a second explosion and more tearing metal. Then silence.”
The particular make of fighter jet — an F-16 Fighting Falcon — is not equipped with any weaponry, a local prefecture said.
A Twitter statement shared by Belgium’s Foreign and Defence Minister Didier Reynders said: “Relieved to know our two pilots
@BeAirForce safe and sound after the crash of our F16 and no casualties on the ground. @BelgiumDefense cares for them and their families. An investigation is underway.”
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