Pilot of light plane chased by Rafale drops drugs in flight

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The pilot of a private plane released packages of drugs over the Ardèche region, France, while being chased by a Rafale fighter jet on June 24, 2024. 

The sequence of events began when the passenger plane coming from Germany into France was detected over the restricted airspace near the Fessenheim nuclear power plant in Alsace. Despite repeated warnings from the air operations command, the pilot chose not to respond and continued the flight.  

In response, the French Air Force dispatched a Rafale fighter jet from Saint-Dizier Air Base to intercept and escort the flight. During the pursuit, the pilot made the decision to drop several packages from the aircraft. He then landed at Aubenas Aerodrome (OBS), located in Lanas. After threatening to kill the employees of the aerodrome, the pilot then fled the scene on foot, abandoning the aircraft.  

Local law enforcement launched a search operation with the support of the Gendarmerie Nationale and the GIGN (the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group). In the evening, the fugitive, identified as a Polish national with a history of narcotics smuggling, was apprehended in Orange, 60 kilometers southeast of the aerodrome. Authorities later discovered several packages containing methamphetamine in Mars and Lachapelle-sous-Chanéac, areas within the Ardèche mountain region, according to the local publication France Bleu Drôme Ardèche.

AeroTime sent an email to the French Air and Space Force for comment. 

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