ASTANA, April 24 (RIA Novosti) – A Kazakhstan Air Force Mikoyan MiG-31 interceptor crashed during a training flight in central Kazakhstan last night, killing the pilot and injuring the navigator, Kazakhstan military prosecutors said on Wednesday.
The crash occurred near the village of Prostornoye in the Karaganda Region at 10.45 p.m. local time (4.45 p.m. GMT) on Tuesday. “The crew ejected from the plane before the crash," the Military Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
The body of the pilot, named as Col. Marat Adigeyev, was discovered during a search at the crash site. The navigator, Major Ruslan Gamizyanov, has been hospitalized but his life is not in danger, prosecutors said.
The Kazakhstan Defense Ministry said "technical failure" was the apparent cause of the crash, which came after the plane underwent a major overhaul at a plant in Rzhev, northwest Russia, last December. The MiG-31 aircraft had since logged around 42 flight hours, the ministry said.
Representatives of the Rzhev maintenance unit have been notified of the incident, the Kazakhstan Defense Ministry said.
“The plane had conducted four planned flights [three flights in daytime and one at night] on April 23. The crash happened during the fifth flight,” the republic’s Defense Ministry said.
A criminal investigation has been opened for “violation of flight rules and flight preparations.” The Kazakhstan Defense Ministry is investigating the circumstances of the crash.
The world's fastest military aircraft in service, the MiG-31 is designed to intercept enemy aircraft at long distances with a powerful radar and weapons system. It is operated only by Kazakhstan and Russia.