Belgian mechanic accidentally destroys F-16 fighter jet with cannon


A Belgian mechanic destroyed a multi-million pound fighter jet after he accidentally fired a Vulcan cannon while carrying out repairs at an air force base.

The £15m plane quickly caught fired and exploded, according to Belgian broadcaster RTL. 

The mechanic was working with a colleague on two F-16s in a hangar near the control tower. 

It is understood that the third jet, which they inadvertently destroyed after firing the cannon, was just out of their line of sight. 

Both mechanics were injured during the incident, which occurred on Thursday at the Florennes air base, 60 miles south of Brussels.

Boris Morenville, head of the Belgian defence trade union, said there was little doubt that the plane’s demise was an accident, albeit a vastly expensive one.

“We may be thinking about human fault or technical failure, but in any case we have not yet been warned of an intentional act,” he said.

Around 30 firefighters were called to the scene along with ambulances and other emergency workers.

Colonel Didier Polome, the base commander, said he was relieved that only two people were injured when the plane exploded.

“You can’t help thinking of what a disaster this could have been,” he said.

A Belgian Air Force spokesman said: “On October 11, 2018, at approximately 2:10 pm, a fire broke out during maintenance work on an F-16 on the Florennes Base. The plane burned. A second aircraft suffered collateral damage.’

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