A 64-year-old man unexpectedly ejected from the rear seat of a Rafale B fighter during takeoff at Saint Dizier-Robinson air base in France. The unnamed man was reportedly a civilian who was invited to fly aboard the fighter during a routine training flight on March 20th.
While details remain sparse, the man suffered back injuries some local media outlets have characterized as “severe,” though he is now listed in stable condition, with French officials saying his health is no longer a “cause for concern.”
French officials have been clear the civilian passenger was not a member of the French armed forces, but was rather taking part in an “observation flight” that had been approved by the nation’s minister of defense for communications purposes. This is not an unusual practice, as many journalists and public officials are often invited to fly aboard military aircraft in nations around the globe.