MiG 21 LanceR fighter crashes in Romania, pilot survives
A MiG 21 LanceR fighter crashed in an uninhabited area in Mures county, in central Romania, during a training flight on April 20.
The pilot, Lieutenant-Commander Andrei Criste, survived the crash after he managed to eject safely, the Ministry of Defense (MApN) announced. A helicopter transported him to the Emergency County Hospital in Targu Mures, where a medical team authorized his transfer to the Military Emergency University Hospital in Bucharest. Officials said he is in stable condition.
The MiG 21 LanceR took off at around 14:00 on April 20, from the airbase in Campia Turzii, to perform a training flight together with two other aircraft of the same type. During the mission, the pilot reported an emergency situation and managed to eject from the plane just before it crashed in the area of Dedrad, a locality in Mures county. The other two aircraft returned to base safely, around 15:00.
The case is being investigated by the Military Prosecutor's Office, and the circumstances of the crash will be investigated by a commission appointed by the Chief of the Defense Staff, MApN said.
The Romanian Air Forces were first equipped with a MiG 21 plane in 1962, according to Digi24. In 1992 the Romanian Air Forces started a modernization program for the MiG 21 aircraft to ensure interoperability with NATO and increase the planes' capacity to execute missions at modern air battle standards.
MiG 21 aircraft have been involved in several similar incidents in the past. For example, in the summer of 2018, a MiG-21 LanceR crashed during an airshow in southern Romania, and the pilot died to save the crowd. A year before, a similar fighter jet crashed in Constanta county, and the pilot managed to eject safely.
(Photo source: Facebook/Fortele Aeriene Romane; photo by Bogdan Pantilimon, Statul Major al Fortelor Aeriene)