A local police officer has opened fire on an approaching Air France Airbus A330 in Congo, Mid-West Africa damaging the aircraft and thereby grounding the repatriation flight at the airport.
The aircraft was fired upon with an automatic weapon according to media reports and several bullets pierced the hull of the plane.
The Congo, itself a former french colony until 1958 and resource rich is generally known for poverty, violence, coup d’etats and ready access to weaponry though in this case it was apparently an armed police officer who shot at the plan when it approached for landing.
As the Washington Post reported the aircraft is now being replaced to fly out French and European citizens as a repatriation flight.
Air France confirms that it had to postpone a flight from the Republic of Congo after the jet was damaged on Sunday by a bullet fired by a gendarme.
The incident happened at the airport in Pointe Noire, the country’s second largest city, said Air France in a statement. An Airbus A330 was damaged and was unable to make a flight repatriating French citizens because of the outbreak of COVID-19.
The flight was postponed for 24 hours so that a replacement airplane can arrive to carry out the flight, said the airline.
The gendarme who fired a shot that pierced the sheet metal of the plane, was arrested and it being held in custody, according to an airport official who insisted on anonymity because of lack of authorization to speak about the incident.
From the publicly available flight records this wasn’t a regular Air France flight but commissioned by the French government to take citizens out of the Congo. Now AF has to send another plane down to pick up the passengers and fix up the damaged aircraft as much as they can before flying it back empty. I’m sure the cockpit crew will be delighted to stay in Congo.
The world is going crazy and these are the things that happen if mentally unstable people are allowed to run around with weapons, either in a personal or professional capacity. Hopefully Air France manages to get all the passengers, crew and aircraft out of there.