A MiG-21 LanceR fighter jet of the Romanian Air Force crashed Tuesday afternoon in Maros (Mureș) County; the pilot, who managed to eject himself safely, was flown a few hours later to Bucharest for treatment and recovery.
Tuesday afternoon, a MiG-21 LanceR fighter, piloted by squadron leader Andrei Criste, crashed near Dedrád (Dedrad), Maros County. The jet had taken off at around 14:00 from the 71st Air Base in Aranyosgyéres (Câmpia Turzii), in Kolozs (Cluj) County, for a joint training flight with two other military jets of the same type.
During the mission, the pilot reported an emergency and ejected himself as the MiG came crashing down in the area of Dedrád, outside any inhabited areas. The other two aircraft returned to the base safely around 15:00.
Initially, the pilot was transported to the Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș) County Emergency Hospital, where he was examined by a medical team who found that his life was not in danger and authorized his transfer to the Dr. Carol Davila Hospital in Bucharest. There, he was examined by a team of doctors specializing in emergency medicine, neurosurgery, thoracic surgery, anesthesia, intensive care, and general surgery; he received a formal diagnosis and surgical and therapeutic treatment.
“After specialist examinations and clinical and paraclinical examinations were performed, squadron leader Andrei Criste
was admitted to the special care
unit with an initial diagnosis of multiple trauma injuries
sustained when he ejected himself from the crashing aircraft.
“The pilot is conscious and cooperative, he has proper temporal and spatial orientation, and his breathing and circulation are stable. The Ministry of National Defense and the medical team are in permanent contact with the family,” reads a press statement released by the Romanian Defense Ministry.
MiG jets are some of the oldest aircraft in the Romanian Air Force. According to Digi24, the first ones were purchased in 1962. However, 30 years later in 1992, the Romanian Air Force started a modernization program for the MiG-21 fighters to ensure interoperability with NATO and increase the jets’ capacity to execute missions at modern air force standards. In the last three decades, there have been accidents involving them almost on a yearly basis.
Since 1994, there have been more than 30 accidents in Romania in which MiG jets were involved, resulting in the deaths of over 10 pilots. The most recent incident occurred on July 7, 2018, when a MiG-21 LanceR crashed during an air show at an airbase in southeastern Romania, in Călărași County. (Agerpres/Mediafax)
Title image is an illustration: Romanian Air Force MiG-21 LanceR-C 6824 at the Bucharest International Air Show in 2019 (Photo: Jeroen Bos)