French fighter jets make emergency landing in Indonesia

An Indonesian soldier stands guard near a French Rafale fighter jet at an air base in Blang Bintang, Aceh province, on May 19, 2019.
An Indonesian soldier stands guard near a French Rafale fighter jet at an air base in Blang Bintang, Aceh province, on May 19, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA (AFP) - Seven French navy fighter jets were forced to make an emergency landing in Indonesia's northern-most province due to bad weather, an air force official said on Sunday (May 19).

The Dassault Rafale planes managed to land safely in Aceh province on the tip of the island of Sumatra on Saturday after taking part in an exercise.

They took off from their aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Indian Ocean, 100 nautical miles west of Sumatra's exclusive economic zone, Aceh air force base chief Hendro Arief said.

The planes were diverted to the nearest air base, the Sultan Iskandar Muda air base in Aceh Besar.

"We did a security and clearance inspection and coordinated with relevant parties. Everything was clear," Colonel Arief said.

The crews were all cooperative and none of them carried individual weapons, he added.

Five of the jets returned to their carrier on Sunday, while two others are still at the Indonesian air base.