Romania loses two aircraft near Ukraine’s border — Analysis

A Romanian fighter jet disappeared in the country’s southeast, with a helicopter crashing during a search-and-rescue op

A Romanian MiG-21 LanceR fighter jet disappeared from the radar in the southeastern region of Dobrogea late on Wednesday, the country’s Defense Ministry has said. An IAR 330 Puma helicopter was dispatched by Defense Ministry to help locate the aircraft after the accident.

After taking off, the fighter plane, an Israeli-upgraded model of the 1960s Soviet aircraft, went missing 15 minutes later. It was heading to patrol the Ukrainian coast. The helicopter was dispatched to search for the aircraft.

However, it disappeared about 20 minutes into the mission, according to military statements. Prior to losing communications, the pilot had reported severe weather conditions within the region.

Romania intercepts Ukrainian fighter jet

The helicopter was confirmed to have crashed some two hours later, with the country’s Defense Minister Vasile Dincu extending his condolences to the victims of the crash.

“Today is a sad day for the Romanian Army family. The five members of the crew of the IAR 330-Puma helicopter, on a search-and-rescue mission for the MiG 21 LanceR aircraft, were found dead in the area of Gura Dobrogea, approximately 11 km from the aerodrome,”According to the defense minister.

According to local media, seven deaths were reported in the helicopter accident. The media aired footage that shows the wreckage of the helicopter, which was apparently badly damaged upon impact.

As of this writing, the MiG-21 LanceR plane remains unaccounted for. The military is continuing to search for the pilot and the plane. 

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