May 22, 2022

An inert bomb lost by the air force during training between the Landes and the Gironde

The machine, “devoid of any explosive charge” according to the authorities, accidentally fell off a fighter plane in exercise between the departments of Landes and Gironde. The municipalities located on the path of the device were alerted this Friday morning.

This week, a bomb was missed at the end of an annual exercise organized from the BA120 air base in Cazaux (Ariège), reports France Bleu Gironde. A device that took part in the training, a mirage 2000D based in Nancy and regularly deployed in the Sahel as part of Operation Barkhane, is implicated, according to information from the Air Force collected by BFMTV. The authorities highlight the harmless nature of this bomb, a simple training tool.

According to the same source, the pilot detected, during the exercise, an anomaly when a bomb was fired over the land reserved for this purpose in Captieux, in Gironde. Following the procedure, he modified his flight so as not to overfly a dwelling, and to return to land as quickly as possible while emptying his tanks. It was when the fighter plane arrived at the base that the soldiers noticed the absence of the bomb normally attached under the aircraft.

The search area is spread around the Captieux shooting range, and extends from the Landes to the Gironde
The search area is spread around the Captieux shooting range, and extends from the Landes to the Gironde © BFMTV

The inhabitants called not to look for the device

Since then, the machine has been actively sought by the gendarmerie in a perimeter following the path of the 2000D mirage, which extends from the Landes to the Gironde. This Friday morning, the town halls of the municipalities included in the area, in particular around the Captieux firing range, were contacted by the armed forces. The latter called on the population not to search for the lost bomb and especially not to touch the machine, even inert, if someone were to find it.

The research perimeter is nevertheless covered in a large proportion by a very dense forest area, which minimizes the risks for the inhabitants. “The bomb may have fallen in the ocean or in the middle of the forest. It is not certain that it will be found one day”, explained Jean-Louis Dartiailh, mayor of the town of Hostens (Gironde), located no. far from Captieux, at France Bleu Gironde.