March 20, 2019 might be one 64-year-old French man’s worst day of his life after his coworkers surprised him with the coveted gift of a passenger ride on a military jet. While that sounds well and nice, the man, who had never expressed any interest in flying in a fighter jet and whose coworkers had worked with the government to get special approval to do so apparently felt like he couldn’t say no to his coworkers, who had gone so far out of their way to provide such a generous gift to him, even though he really didn’t want to go on the flight.
Before the flight, his smartwatch recorded his heart rate at 136-142 beats per minute; and he reports being stressed and confused during a safety briefing when he was informed about details of the plane and how the ejector seat worked.
Then he entered the cockpit and the flight took off. When the pilot, a French military veteran, leveled off, the plane was in the ‘negative gravitational load factor,’ a state that makes people feel like they might be upside down. In a panic, the man grabbed something to hold on to. Unfortunately, the thing he grabbed was the ejection button. Yikes.
At 2,500 feet, the 64-year-old man who had never been in a military jet was ejected into the air. Somehow, he landed safely and was taken to the hospital for minor injuries only. The reason that the public is learning about it now? The French government just released a report on the incident.
The report also revealed that because the man was so stressed out and inexperienced, he also didn’t secure his helmet on correctly — so it flew off his head when he was ejected from the plane. The pilot remained safely in the cockpit as the passenger flew into the skies and was able to safely land the plane. Luckily, the man survived. French authorities are still investigating how the incident occurred.