RENNES: An F-16 jet of the Belgian air force crashed Thursday in western France, with both pilots successfully ejecting but one spending 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.
“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 added that both pilots had been injured but gave no further details on their conditions.
The plane had taken off from Belgium and was heading on a training mission to a French naval airbase close to the town of Lorient.
The Belgian defence ministry confirmed the incident, saying the pilots successfully ejected, without elaborating.
Local security forces evacuated eight homes housing a total of 15 residents.
Pluvigner resident Patrick Kauffer told the local Le Telegramme daily that the “wing of the plane took out part of the roof of our house. The damage was serious.”
He said the crash set ablaze his shed and some trees.