A F-16 fighter jet of the Belgian air force crashed on Thursday in western France, with both pilots successfully ejecting — but one spent two hours hanging from a power line before being cut down, officials said.
Parts from the stricken plane, which was not carrying weapons and was flying from Belgium to a French base on a training mission, crashed into houses in the Morbihan region around the town of Pluvigner. No one on the ground was hurt.
“The pilot and the co-pilot were able to eject before the crash. They were both located and are alive,” the office of the state representative for the region said in a statement.
It said one pilot had been rescued but the other had become tangled with a high-voltage power line and was left hanging from his parachute.
The pilot was finally cut loose after a two-hour rescue effort, the statement said.
“It was a sensitive and long operation,” senior local official Pierre Clavreuil told a news conference in Pluvigner. “It needed a lot of sangfroid,” added Cyrille Berrod of the Morbihan fire brigade.
The Belgian air force commander Frederik Vansina told reporters in Brussels that the incident appeared to have been caused by an engine problem with the plane, which was built in 1983, but that an investigation would provide further details.
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