64-year-old executive accidentally ejected himself during a surprise trip on a French fighter jet

A French Air Force Dassault Rafale, photographed on Oct. 25, 2019, over France.


By JOSHUA BOTE | USA Today | Published: April 14, 2020

A man ejected himself from a fighter jet on a surprise joyride through the skies, a wild French government report published recently revealed.

Per documents first obtained by BuzzFeed News, the 64-year-old man participated in a 2 flight training at the Saint-Dizier airbase in eastern France.

To make matters worse, the man, who was not identified in the report, didn't even want to be on the jet — a Dassault Rafale B, which is used by the French Air Force. An executive at a military weapons company, the flight was a surprise from his co-workers. Per the report, he had no prior military experience and expressed no desire to be on a fighter jet.

The situation, according to the report, caused him distress — but he felt as if he couldn't turn down the offer due to "social pressure" from his colleagues, one of whom was a former Air Force pilot.

His heart was beating at a rate between 120 and 145 beats per minute leading up to the flight, the report pointed out.

During the flight, the man — stressed and overwhelmed — neglected to tighten his seat straps or his helmet, causing him to float in the jet while in mid-air. He tried to hold on to his seat handle, when he accidentally pushed the eject button — opening up the parachute and losing his helmet in the process.

He sustained moderate injuries that required hospitalization after landing in a field by the airbase.

French military health regulations advise that passengers aboard a fighter jet must undergo a medical assessment 10 days prior to the flight. Given the surprise element of the man's flight, the military ignored the recommendation and performed his medical visit just a few hours before takeoff.

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