Crew ejected as MiG-31 fighter of Kazakhstan’s Air Force crashes near Karaganda

A MiG-31 interceptor-fighter of Kazakhstan’s Air Force crashed near the Karaganda airport, with the crew ejecting to safety, the republican Defense Ministry said on Thursday as reported by TASS

The military plane crashed "in the course of performing a planned combat duty training flight," the ministry said.

The incident occurred south of the Karaganda aerodrome. "After the take-off, a fire started in one of the engines.

After receiving the command to eject, the pilots directed the plane into the field away from a populated area and after making sure that nothing threatened the civilians, the crew ejected.

The pilots are alive," the ministry said.

An investigation into the incident is already underway as the Kazakhstani defense minister sets up a commission to investigate the incident. A search and rescue team of the republic’s Air Force has arrived at the scene.

Kazakhstan is the only country besides Russia to fly the massive MiG-31, which it inherited after gaining independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. 

The MiG-31, which evolved from the MiG-25 Foxbat, first flew in 1975 and entered Soviet service in 1981. The aircraft are capable of extremely high altitude flight and have a top speed of close to Mach 3. In Russian service, their large size and payload capacity has also led them to become a prime choice for modification into launch platforms for outsized missiles.

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