MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) - 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 a.m. Moscow time (02:12 GMT) about 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from the Domna airfield in the Chita Region.
"The MiG-29 crashed, and 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.
Emergency workers discovered flight data recorders and the body of the pilot close to the crash site.
A team of experts and a mobile forensic lab have been sent to investigate the accident, but the preliminary investigation has been hampered by freezing temperatures in the area.
A Defense Ministry source said that according to preliminary information, the crash was caused by "a technical failure," and the pilot died preventing the aircraft from falling on residential buildings in a nearby village, 700 meters (2,300 ft) from the crash site.
Following the crash, Russia's Air Force has announced the suspension of flights of MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, and the Russian Investigations Committee has opened a criminal case on charges of "violation of flight regulations or flight preparation procedures."
The crash was the second in East Siberia involving a MiG-29 fighter in less than two months. In mid-October, a MiG-29 fighter crashed 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Domna airfield during a regular training flight. 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.