February 23rd, 2011
06:01 PM ET

Reports: Libyan pilots refuse to bomb city, eject from plane

CNN Wire Staff

Tobruk, Libya (CNN) - Even as Moammar Gadhafi called on the military to crack down on anti-government protesters, reports emerged Wednesday that the Libyan leader was facing growing international and domestic opposition, including from his own military.

An opposition figure told CNN that a pilot who had been ordered to bomb oil fields southwest of Benghazi refused to do so and instead ejected from the plane.

Citing military sources, the Libyan newspaper Quryna reported that the two people aboard - the pilot and co-pilot - parachuted out and that the plane then crashed into an uninhabited area west of Ajdabiya, 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of Benghazi.

Quryna itself is a sign of the changes sweeping through Libya. When protests began last week, it carried regime propaganda. But it later reported on the protests and casualty figures.

CNN could not confirm reports for many areas in Libya. The Libyan government maintains tight control on communications and has not responded to repeated requests from CNN for access to the country. CNN has interviewed numerous witnesses by phone.

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soundoff (One Response)
  1. Annie Kate

    It took a lot of courage and moral fiber to refuse to obey that order and crash the plane instead. The pilot and co-pilot are to be commended for refusing to kill innocent civilians; I just hope that in getting rid of Gadhafi the protesters don't create a worse mess by not having a central coordinator who can help keep the country functioning and its people safe and fed.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm |