A French pilot strapped to a huge metal post claims he was targeted by jet fighter jets as part of a terrible “clouding ritual”.
The nameless man claims he was handcuffed, blindfolded and bundled in the back of a pickup truck before being taken to a secret location on the Mediterranean island of Corsica in 2019.
He is now taking legal action over the extraordinary allegations when footage and pictures of him appeared that appear tied to a 15-foot metal structure.
The vehicle was reportedly “roughly removed” and tied to the post with a red cross over its head at Solenzara Air Force Base, the legal complaint said.
During the terrifying experience, he heard the sound of fighter jets opening fire and dropping grenades around him for 20 minutes, with some ammunition landing an estimated 1,640 feet away.
The complaint, reported in The Sun, said that “simulated shots” were also fired directly at the victim.
The 30-year-old pilot is now suing the air force for “increased voluntary violence” and “deliberate endangerment of others” by “specialists, members of the army and high-ranking officers”.
It is believed that two supervisors addressed the pilot with “sarcastic remarks” before forcing him to wear an inflatable maritime flyover outfit, raise his arms and stand as a “human watch”.
The complaint alleges that he heard noises from overhead planes and discovered that he had been taken to a live fire target area north of the base.
After 20 minutes, he was untied and asked to join the vehicle by jumping to his feet while his legs were taped, the complaint said.
One of his lawyers, Silvio Rossi-Arnaud, said: “You played Russian roulette with Mirages.”
The allegedly involved were quickly identified because they should have filmed the scene and published it on a WhatsApp group.
Mr Rossi-Arnaud said the cruel prank cost taxpayers dearly as “an hour’s Mirage flight costs € 15,000 [£13,000] in kerosene.
“You are playing with military equipment of the highest order in a monumental waste of public money,” he added.
A spokesman for the French Air and Space Forces, Colonel Stéphane Spet, said the pictures were real but gave the “false impression” that the plane was aiming fire at the pilot.
He added that the ammo round closest to him was almost a mile away.
He told CNN that following an internal investigation, “solid sanctions have been imposed, including barracks restriction, a severe sanction in the career of an officer and pilot.” Spet – also insisted that the pilot’s safety was never in danger.
However, Frédéric Berna, a lawyer for the pilot, said he was never informed of any such sanctions.
He said: “You show the total impunity that exists in the Air Force.
In his military career, his client “no longer hoped for anything” but “waited for justice to recognize him as a victim”.
“He hopes the institution will end these institutionalized clouding practices for future recruits,” he added.