Belgian F-16 pilot rescued from power line after emergency ejection
A Belgian F-16 fighter jet pilot has been rescued from a power line after getting into difficulties and ejecting from his stricken aircraft.
The two-seat jet, which appeared to be on a routine and unarmed flight, was flying between Belgium and a French naval aviation base when it came down between Pluvigner and Landaul in Brittany, north-western France, according to Forces News.
Belgium operates a small number of two-seat F-16Bs for training purposes, along with frontline single-seat variants. It is not known at present how or why the jet got into difficulties severe enough for the crew to eject.
One pilot ejected safely but the other was unlucky enough for his parachute to snag on a power line, leaving him dangling in the air. Local news website Le Telegramme is running a live blog complete with pictures.
The local council (prefecture, en francais) of Morbihan said, in a statement translated by the most convenient free service El Reg could find:
The F-16 aircraft was unarmed and its cargo is under investigation. The pilot and his co-pilot were able to eject before the crash. Both of them have been located and are alive. One of them has already been taken care of by the emergency services deployed on site, the second is currently suspended on a high-voltage line by his parachute. ENEDIS [France’s low-voltage version of the National Grid] is on hand to help the soldier’s recovery.
Around 100 police are said to be on the scene. At least one house was damaged by the F-16 crash, though no injuries have been reported so far. A photo shown by Le Telegramme depicts a fire burning in what appears to be a field of crops, with a power line in the background.
It is unknown whether the pilot’s colleagues have given him the new callsign Sparky.