23 December 2008
A Russian military pilot died early on Friday when his MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter crashed in East Siberia, an Air Force spokesman said.
The plane crashed at 05:12 Moscow time (02:12 GMT) about 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from the Domna airfield in the Chita Region.
"The MiG-29 crashed, the pilot is dead," Colonel Vladimir Drik said, adding that "no civilian injuries and no damage" had been reported at the scene of the crash.
A Defense Ministry source said that, according to preliminary information, the crash was caused by "a technical failure."
After the crash, Russia's Air Force announced it was suspending flights of MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters.
A Defense Ministry team has been sent to investigate the circumstances of the accident.
A local emergencies department spokesman said the pilot "had either failed to eject, or ejected too late," adding that little remained of the plane after the crash and the resulting blaze.
Friday's crash is the second such reported incident in East Siberia involving a MiG-29 fighter in the last few months. In mid-October, a MiG-29 fighter crashed 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Domna airfield during a regular training flight. In this case, however, the pilot ejected safely.
Last year, two Russian Air Force MiG-29 fighters were involved in a mid-air collision over the Rostov Region. Both pilots bailed out safely.
December 5, 2008