In a surprise company outing to an airbase at the Saint-Dizier airbase in north-eastern France, a 64-year-old defence company executive accidentally ejected himself while flying at over 500km/h in a fighter jet.
Reportedly, the French man, under so much stress, panicky and unnerved with no prior flying experience in a fighter jet; flung himself from it in midair, grabbing the ejector button in fright.
It was a surprise company outing for the man, by his colleagues who had organized a joyride in a Dassault Rafale B jet for him as a treat. With his co-workers even obtaining a special ministerial approval for the 'adventure' flight, the man found no way to turn down the offer.
The manager at a French defence manufacturer, the 'unfortunate' man had never expressed any desire to fly in a fighter jet either!
When panic makes you hit the wrong button!
According to the investigators, the force of the take-off made him "float" off his seat, causing him to stand up and involuntarily grab the ejection handle to steady himself. They also added that the flight had ignored medical warnings that the passenger should not undergo the 3.7g of force generated by the take-off.
The medical reports state that the man's heart was racing at between 120 and 145 beats per minute beforehand; yet committed the maiden trip!
Additionally, the man had neither securely attached his helmet, which went flying in midair as he tumbled through before landing safely on the ground. Unleashing his parachute, the man was, fortunately, able to land secure, sans injuries.
The unfortunate voyage
The feeling of being upside down, unfortunately, made the senior citizen take grab on something to hold onto when the pilot levelled off and the plane got subjected to a negative gravitational load factor.
Investigators found that neither the passenger nor the pilot had been told that the doctor who examined the man recommended he not be subjected to a negative load factor. The man's action of pulling the handle was an obvious involuntary reflex, said the doctors.