Crew survive as Nato jets collide over Lithuania

Lithuania map

French and Lithuanian jets have collided during a Nato exercise in the Baltic state but all three crew members involved escaped serious injury.

The two pilots aboard the Lithuanian L-39 trainer ejected, after which their jet crashed in a rural area without causing any civilian damage, Nato said.

The pilot of the lightly damaged French Mirage fighter landed it safely.

Nato jets based at Lithuania's Zokniai air base patrol the airspace of the Baltic states.

Nato said in a statement that the planes had collided at 09:30 (06:30 GMT) while taking part in a training flight based out of Zokniai.

Local media reports say the Lithuanian pilots landed in Rekyva lake in the Siauliai region.

Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius told journalists an investigation had started.

"We can only state with relief that casualties were avoided," he said. "Unfortunately, incidents like this sometimes happen."