Woops! F-16 fighter jet drops 160 kg fuel tanks over Évora farmland

The rural quiet of “Senhor dos Aflitos” was abruptly broken earlier this week when an F-16 fighter jet ditched two mercifully empty fuel tanks, weighing 160 kg between them, onto farmland.

The aluminium deposits came down with a massive crash.

Said one local: “I thought something had exploded”. Another said he hopes the tanks missed the area’s houses by design.

“I think the pilot knew the houses were there and only let the tanks go when he knew there was no danger”, Alexandre Cancela Abreu is quoted as telling tabloid Correio da Manhã.

Whatever the case, the Air Force was swiftly on the ground, collecting debris.

Says CM, the incident came during a training flight, after a “problem” was detected with the fighter jet’s engine.

Lt. Col Manuel Costa told the paper: “In cases like these, procedure determines the freeing of reserve fuel deposits which are situated under the wing”.

Costa said the pilot then “continued on” with his journey, landing at No 11 Air Force base, in Beja, “without incidents”.

The three-metre long tanks landed about 200 metres from houses in the area, says CM – adding that F-16s can reach maximum speeds of 2,160 km/ hour, allowing them to fly over the country from north to south “in just 12 minutes”.

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