A Russian MIG-29 performs during the MAKS 2009 international aerospace show outside Moscow. A MiG-29 crashed July 27 in Russia, killing the pilot, according to reports. (Dmitry Kostyukov / AFP)
MOSCOW — A fighter jet crashed in southern Russia on Sunday, killing the pilot, the head of the air force told Russian news agencies, blaming a technical fault.
“An accident took place and the pilot died,” Gen. Viktor Bondarev said, quoted by the Interfax news agency.
“We are working out what happened. According to initial data, the reason for the accident was a failure of aviation equipment,” he said.
The widely used Soviet-designed aircraft has experienced a string of accidents over the years in Russia and abroad.
“The MiG-29 jet crashed while carrying out a planned test flight in the Astrakhan region,” said defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, quoted by the Interfax news agency.
“The flight supervisor gave the command to eject, but the pilot, trying to save the plane, did not leave the controls and died,” Konashenkov said.
A Russian airforce MiG-29 last crashed in 2012 in eastern Siberia when it flew into a hillside, Interfax reported. A year earlier, two pilots were killed on a test flight in the Astrakhan region.
The MiG-29 was first produced in 1980s and has been exported to much of the world. It is deployed by the air forces of a number of countries including Iran.