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Lawyer: Pilot Was Strapped to Target in Terrifying Hazing

French fighter pilot had a hood over his head as munitions were dropped, lawyer says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2021 1:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – A French fighter pilot says that when he arrived at a new unit, colleagues hazed him by putting a hood over his head, throwing him in the back of a pickup truck, driving around 30 minutes away, and attaching him to a pole. He says that when he heard the sound of fighter jets, he realized he was strapped to a target in a live-fire range north of the Corsica base, reports Reuters, which has photos from the pilot's legal complaint. The pilot says that for around 20 terrifying minutes, he could hear combat aircraft flying nearby and the sound of munitions exploding. After that, he says, he was detached from the pole and, with his legs still taped together, ordered to hop back to the truck, CNN reports.

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Attorney Frederic Berna says the pilot was initially reluctant to challenge military authorities after the hazing in early 2019, but he decided to report it late last year when his request for a transfer was denied. Berna says the other personnel involved shared photos and videos from the hazing in a WhatsApp group. French air force spokesman Col. Stéphane Spet says officers created a "staged scene" to make the pilot think munitions were being dropped nearby, but the firing he heard came from a different location and no round came closer to him than 0.6 miles away. Spet says that after the complaint was received, "firm sanctions" were placed on the officers involved, the most severe of which was restriction to barracks. He did not disclose how many days the punishment lasted. (Read more France stories.)

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