Wreckage found from downed Rafale, as France names missing pilot

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France has named the pilot still missing after a suspected mid-air collision between two navy Dassault Rafales over the Mediterranean Sea on 24 September as François Duflot. The first pieces of wreckage from the downed fighter have been recovered.

A test pilot from France's DGA procurement agency, Duflot went missing after his aircraft was involved in what defence minister Hervé Morin says is believed to have been a collision between the Rafales.

The single-seat fighters were among four Rafales assigned to the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and had been involved in flight-test activities before the mishap, which happened around 30km (16nm) east of Perpignan. The other pilot survived the accident, and was recovered by helicopter shortly after ejecting from his aircraft.

The French navy on 27 September confirmed that it had recovered several items from the missing Rafale, including a part of its wing that was picked up around 40km from where the first pilot was rescued.

With hopes of finding Duflot alive having faded over the weekend, the emphasis of the French navy's search efforts has now been shifted to finding the rest of the fighter.

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