Private trainer jet crashes at Nimes-Garons Airport, southern France

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An Aermacchi MB-339C crashed at the end of the runway at Nîmes-Garons Airport (NMI) in Saint-Gilles, southeastern France.  

On October 10, 2023, at around 10 a.m. local time, the two-seater trainer jet was taking off when it crashed at the end of the runway, local news Midi Libre reported.  

The two occupants of the aircraft successfully ejected. They were both slightly injured and were transported to a local hospital. The crash caused a vegetation fire which was quickly extinguished by firefighters.  

Operations at the airport were temporarily interrupted because of the crash. Ryanair flight RK8816 from London-Stansted Airport (STN) to Nîmes was diverted to Montpellier–Méditerranée Airport (MPL). 

The Aermacchi MB-339 is an Italian-made jet trainer and light attack aircraft first introduced in the late 1970s. 

The owner of the MB-339C was not confirmed. However, a private military company specializing in operational air training called SDTS is headquartered at the airport. It operates a fleet of nine Aermacchi MB-339C trainer jets. 

Until 2011, Nîmes-Garons Airport was a joint-use airport also serving as one of the main bases for the French Naval Aviation, from which several maritime patrol aircraft operated including the Embraer EMB 121 Xingu and the Dassault Breguet Atlantique 2.  

The airport now hosts several private defense companies as well as a fleet of waterbombers from the French Civil Protection. 

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