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Drill sparks 9/11 ‘crash’ fear as fighter escorts plane & ‘bang’ heard over Paris

AN air force drill on the anniversary of 9/11 involving a passenger plane and a jet sparked fears of a crash after a loud bang was heard.

Eye-witnesses in Paris yesterday spotted an Airbus A330 being shadowed by a French Rafale warplane as it roared over at low altitude.

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The passenger plane roared over Paris with a warplane seemingly in pursuitCredit: Twitter
A Rafale fighter jet was involved in the shadowing of the Airbus

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A Rafale fighter jet was involved in the shadowing of the AirbusCredit: AFP

As the September commemorations were being held across the Atlantic, Parisians were left shocked as a commercial airliner appeared to be being pursued by a warplane. 

A resident told BFMTV, noting that on the 20th anniversary since airliners were hijacked by Al-Qaeda and flown into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, said “of course we think about that.”

They said: “It sounded like a blast — we didn’t know whether it had crashed.”

But in fact, the Airbus was involved in a drill.

And French Prime Minister Jean Castex was on board.

His office said the Rafale fighter jet was carrying out a refuelling exercise.

Footage of the incident was posted online by concerned residents, including one alarmed at “this fighter-jet nonsense”.

Mr Castex’s office said he was on the Airbus because of “his responsibilities in matters of national defence”.

Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly was also on board.

The military plane had recently evacuated civilians from Kabul airport in Afghanistan.

The two aircraft landed at Vélizy-Villacoublay air base, south-west of Paris, yesterday afternoon 

BFMTV said: “In the end, it was just an exercise. People will take their own view about the timing.”

French authorities said the Rafale fighter jet and Airbus was carrying out a refuelling exercise

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French authorities said the Rafale fighter jet and Airbus was carrying out a refuelling exerciseCredit: AFP
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