ROSTOV-ON-DON, March 21 (RIA Novosti) - Two Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters have collided in the Rostov Region in southern Russia, but both pilots survived the accident, a local police source said Wednesday.
The collision occurred near the Millerovo airfield in the afternoon, about 220 kilometers (130 miles) north of the regional center, Rostov-on-Don.
Both pilots have been transported to a nearby military hospital with minor facial lacerations, Air Force spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky said, adding that the crash did not cause any injuries to anyone on the ground, damage to ground installations or the environment.
"The pilots are alive," Drobyshevsky said. "They have been picked up by two Mi-8 rescue helicopters and brought to a military hospital at the Millerovo airfield."
The spokesman also said that the aircraft did not carry any combat payload at the time of the crash.
A team of military investigators has been dispatched to the crash site to probe the causes of the accident and the Military Prosecutor's Office of the North Caucasus Military District has opened a criminal investigation into the collision.
The MiG-29 Fulcrum is as a single-seat fighter-interceptor with excellent maneuverability and basic ground attack capability.
It was one of the Soviet Union's most important combat aircraft in the last years of the Cold War, and remains an important asset for the Russian Air Force. The aircraft has been exported to 27 countries, and is being updated with improved avionics and electronics to keep it in service well into the 21st century.