MIG-29 fighter jet crashes in Belarus, crew dies

MINSK, September 23 (Itar-Tass) - A MIG-29 fighter jet crashed in Belarus Thursday night, a spokesman for the Belarussian Defense Ministry told Itar-Tass.

The jet's crew died.

"The crash took place at around 17:00 houra East-European Daylight Saving Time /14:00 hours GMT/ when the crew was performing a low-altitude flying exercise as part of scheduled flights," the spokesman said.

The fighter was assigned to the 61st base of fighter aviation of the Air Force and Air Defense and had a two-strong crew - Squadron Commander Lt Col Sergei Kovalenko and Deputy Wing Commander Major Alexander Zhigailo.

"To prevent the downfall on populated areas, the crew diverted the aircraft to an area of marshlands overgrown with forest and that's where the crash took place," the spokesman said.

"The crew died upon performing their military and professional duty to the end," he said.

At the time of reporting, a special commission set up by the Defense Ministry was clearing out the causes and circumstances of the accident.


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