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French, Lithuanian military planes collide in mid-air over northern Lithuania


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French, Lithuanian military planes collide in mid-air over northern Lithuania

2011-08-31 01:52:11 GMT+7 (ICT)

VILNIUS (BNO NEWS) -- Two military planes belonging to Lithuania and France collided in midair on Tuesday during a training exercise over northern Lithuania, the country's Ministry of National Defense reported. All three pilots escaped unharmed.

The accident happened at around 10 a.m. local time when a Lithuanian Air Force L-39 ZA Albatross, a light attack aircraft, collided in midair with a French fighter aircraft, a Mirage 2000 C, during a training flight in the vicinity of Siauliai, the capital of Siauliai County in northern Lithuania.

After the collision, the Lithuanian aircraft crashed into the nearby Rekyva Lake while the French fighter jet was able to land safely although it sustained damage to the stabilizer. Some debris fell in a forest, causing a fire.

"Following the collide, the pilots did what they could do to direct the aircraft to nonresidential area to avoid civil damage," Lieutenant General Arvydas Pocius, Lithuanian Chief of Defense, said at a press conference several hours after the accident.

The two pilots aboard the L-39 ZA Albatross were able to successfully eject from the aircraft and were later located uninjured and transported to a nearby air force base. After health checkups, the pilots reported back to the service.

The Lithuanian Defense Ministry also said the pilot went through all necessary procedures and health examinations before taking part in the training flight. An investigation into the cause of the accident has begun.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-08-31

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