Villagers in the south of France had their electricity cut by a Rafale fighter jet which sliced through a local power line during a low-altitude training mission, the air force announced Thursday.
The incident on Wednesday saw residents of Le Castellet, a small village in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region, deprived of power for around three hours after the fly-by from the Dassault-made jet.
“The crew were unharmed,” Air Force spokesman Stephane Spet told AFP, adding that two Rafales were on a mission from their base in the east of France.
The mayor of Le Castellet Benoit Gouin told France Bleu local news that the plane “came so low that it made a hell of a noise.”
He said he realized that it had gone under the electricity line and went to investigate, finding the two ends of the severed cable lying on the ground.
“I immediately called the emergency services and the team at Enedis,” he added, referring to the local power company.
Air Force spokesman Spet said an investigation had been launched and added that such incidents were “very rare.”
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The Rafale is France’s most state-of-the-art fighter jet, capable of speeds of more than 2,000 kilometres an hour (1,400 miles per hour), which has been deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Mali.
‘Bird menace’ threatens security of Rafale aircraft
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has approached the Haryana government, requesting prompt measures to address the garbage disposal method in a zone around Ambala Air Force Station as bird menace threatens safety of the newly-inducted Rafale fighter aircraft.
The Director-General Inspection and Safety of Indian Air Force, Air Marshal Manavendra Singh, has written a demi-official letter, addressed to Keshni Anand Arora, Chief Secretary, Haryana, in this regard.
The letter states that “the safety and security of the Rafale aircraft inducted at Ambala on July 29 is the prime focus of the IAF”.
“Air Force Station Ambala has very high concentration of birds and this has the potential to cause very serious damage to the aircraft in case of a collision. Bird activity over the airfield is related to the presence of garbage in the area around. Several measures have been recommended to reduce the same and Air Officer Commanding Air Force Station Ambala has met Joint Commissioner and Additional Municipal Commissioner of Ambala through Aerodrome Environment Management Committee meetings conducted on 24 Jan 2019, 10 July 2019 and 24 Jan 2020,” the letter states.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk