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7 French fighter jets make emergency landing in Indonesia

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Indonesian military personnel walks past one of seven French Navy Rafale jet fighters parked on the tarmac at Sultan Iskandar Muda Air Base in Aceh Besar, Indonesia, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Poor weather has forced the seven fighters from French Navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle taking part in a training exercise to make emergency landings in northern Indonesia. (AP Photo/Khalis Surry)

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — Poor weather conditions have forced seven French navy fighter jets taking part in a training exercise to make emergency landings in northern Indonesia, an Indonesian air force official said Sunday.

The crews of the seven Dassault Rafale combat planes landed safely at Sultan Iskandar Muda air force base in Aceh province on Saturday, 90 minutes after taking off from their aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Indian Ocean, said Aceh air force base commander Col. Hendro Arief.

"We had to open our base to them to land as they were in an emergency state due to bad weather," Arief said.

He said air force radar confirmed that the planes were initially flying out of Indonesian territory when fog and bad weather forced them to land immediately as they were trying to return to their aircraft carrier, located 100 nautical miles west of Sumatra's exclusive economic zone.

Arief said Indonesian air force personnel had completed an inspection of the planes.

Five of the seven jets were returned to their carrier on Sunday, while the other two were still having technical problems, Arief said. French diplomats in Indonesia were informed of the incident.