Poland has grounded its MiG-29 fighter jet fleet after a fatal crash near Pasłęk in the north of the country, the defense minister said.
A MiG-29 from 22 Tactical Air Base in Malbork crashed at 1:57 a.m. on Friday, July 6 near Pasłęk, the defense ministry said. Wreckage was found around 500m from buildings.
According to AP, the defense ministry said the crash occurred during an interception exercise.
The pilot ejected but was pronounced dead by an ambulance doctor at 2:30 a.m. He had over 600 hours flight time in MiG-29s.
Pending the explanation of the cause of the MiG-29 crash, flights using the aircraft have been stopped, Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak said, adding that experts from the State Aviation Investigation Commission were already at the scene.
“This is a very safe plane,” Colonel Maciej Trelka, President of the Board of the Air Force Inspectorate, said, adding that this is the “first event of this type on this type of aircraft.”
However, in December another MiG-29 crashed near the Minsk Mazowiecki airbase in central Poland, reportedly while on a landing approach.
Poland has around 30 MiG-29 fighters in its fleet which have been in service for nearly 30 years.
The Mikoyan MiG-29 (NATO reporting name Fulcrum) is a Russian-designed twin-engine fighter jet aircraft which entered service with the Soviet Union in 1982. It was originally intended as an air superiority fighter, but has also been developed into a multi-role aircraft.
In January, an Indian MiG-29K aircraft caught fire after leaving the runway while taking off from Naval Air Station Hansa in Goa.