Pilot caught on HT power line as F-16 crashes in France

Brittany (France): A Belgian F-16 fighter jet crashed here, with one pilot reportedly caught on an electricity wire.

The plane came down over the town of Pluvigner at about 10.30am local time on Thursday, narrowly missing a house.

Ouest-France reported that the aircraft had taken off at the Florennes airbase near Namur in Belgium and was en route to the French naval airbase at Lann-Bihoué, in the Morbihan department, western France.

The two pilots were able to eject from the aircraft: one was picked up safe on the ground. There were conflicting reports over the second who is reported to have become caught on a 250,000 volt high-tension electricity line.

“This type of F-16 aircraft had no weapons,” the local prefecture said.

A Belgian defence ministry spokesperson said Aviation Safety Directorate investigators had been dispatched to the scene to determine the cause of the accident.

According to local journalists, the emergency services were sent to retrieve the second pilot, who was hanging by his parachute from the electricity cable.

A French police spokeswoman said there were no injuries among local residents and that 100 police officers had surrounded the crash site to look for clues as to the cause.

Cyril Berrod, chief of the emergency services, said numerous rescuers had been sent to the scene. “For the moment we cannot say more. The pilot is our priority,” Berrod said.

The F-16 crashed 50 metres from a house, damaging part of the roof at the rear. The owners were evacuated.

“We were in the garden. There were aircraft passing overhead, over the trees. 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,” a local told Ouest-France.