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French Military Planes Damage Electrical Lines Cutting Power To Village

Two French military planes that flew very close to the ground have struck electrical lines and cut the power supply to a village in the south of France.

The incident happened on Wednesday afternoon in the small village of Le Castellet, near Manosque.

The two Rafale aircraft had taken off from a nearby air base on a low-altitude training flight, reports say. An investigation has been opened into the “rare incident”.

“It went so low that it made a hell of a din, I then looked up and saw the second aircraft,” the village’s mayor told local news outlet France Bleu. “It was so low that I said to myself: it went under the power lines,” Benoît Gouin, who was driving at the time, said.

Further down the road, he says he came across sectioned electric cables hanging on the ground: “One of the planes hit the line and cut it. I immediately called the emergency services and the Enedis [electricity company] team.” The fall of the cables caused a fire which was quickly brought under control, La Provence newspaper reports.

The village remained without power for a few hours, while the access road to it was also barred for security reasons. “There were no casualties. This in-flight incident forced the pilot of the aircraft to land safely at 14:11 [13:11 GMT]” at the Orange air base, a French air force spokesperson told La Provence newspaper. They “deplore this extremely rare incident”.