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Two pilots killed in fighter jet crash in western Belarus
A MiG-29 fighter jet of the 61st Fighter Air Base in Baranavichy, Brest region, crashed at about 5 p.m. on Thursday during a routine training flight, said the press office of the Belarusian defense ministry. Squadron Commander Lieutenant Colonel Syarhey Kavalenka and Major Alyaksandr Zhyhayla were killed in the crash, according to the press office, as quoted by BelaPAN.
The pilots were performing complicated flight maneuvers at low altitudes and sacrificed themselves to prevent the aircraft from falling in a populated area by flying the aircraft to a woody and marshy area, where the plane crashed, the press office said.
A special commission of the defense ministry is investigating the circumstances of the accident, the press office added.
The defense ministry has offered its condolences to the relatives and friends of the pilots and will provide assistance to their families in accordance with regulations, the press office noted.
Ihar Holub, deputy commander of the Air and Air Defense Force/aviation chief, rushed to Baranvichy following the crash.
The Mig-29 is a fourth-generation fighter jet designed in the Soviet Union for an air superiority role. Developed in the 1970s by the Mikoyan design bureau, it entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983, and remains in use by the Russian Air Force as well as in many other nations. Its NATO reporting name is Fulcrum.