NATO planes collide mid-air over Lithuania

  • 2011-08-31
  • TBT Staff

The wreckage of the Lithuanian plane, which crashed after the collision. (photo: Lithuanian defense ministry)

SIAULIAI -- Two NATO aircraft, one Lithuanian and one French, have collided mid-air over Lithuania. One of the planes crashed but its pilots managed to escape unharmed.

"The pilots were soon after located and transported by the Lithuanian Air Force search and rescue helicopter Mi-8 to the Lithuanian Air Force Base. After health check up, the pilots reported back to the service," the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said in a press statement.

The collision took place between Lithuania's light attack aircraft L-39 ZA Albatross and a French fighter aircraft Mirage 2000 C during a training operation.

The French aircraft sustained "light damage" and was able to land at a nearby airbase. The Lithuanian plane crashed into a nearby forest.

"Unfortunately such an incident took a place.  We are not aware of all circumstances yet.  The Ministry of Defence and the Aviation Safety Authority have started an investigation already.  We could only state with relieve that there are no casualties reported.  Unfortunately such incidents do take place," Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said soon after the accident.