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April 23, 2021

Military plane crashes, two dead

A MIG 21 Lancer belonging to Campia Turzii 71 Air Fleet crashed yesterday round noon close to an aerodrome in Cluj County, Realitatea TV informs. Both the aircraft pilots died in the incident, according to a Defence Ministry press release.

The double command craft was going on a scout mission to establish weather conditions in view of a series of military drills. First data at the incident site revealed the plane crashed upon landing maneuvers.
The crash took place in an area beside two isolated households, according to Cluj Prefect Florin Stamatian, quoted by Antena 3. Also, people in the area said the weather conditions were normal at the time of the incident. A military inquiry on the matter would reveal more information on the cause of the crash.

The head of Senate’s Defense Committee Teodor Melescanu yesterday told Mediafax that, either technical or human, the cause of the crash “has had as main reason insufficient funding for acquisitions and instruction. “Whenever such tragedies occur we must consider two things: a pilot’s job is risky and it becomes even riskier when the equipment you are using is old or training conditions for the military personnel are affected by budget cuts,” the PNL senator said.

Over the past seven years, several pilots have lost their lives in crashes involving MIG 21 type aircrafts. The first incident occurred in March 1993, when two such planes exploded while in the air, killing two pilots. One year later, another pilot was losing his life in Teleorman County when a MIG 21 was crashing to the ground during a landing drill.

In 1995, two aircrafts fell upon 15 minutes since taking off in Deveselu, Olt County. In August 2004, also in a Campia Turzii base, two fighter aircrafts crashed during an interception drill, pilots survived but several people were injured on the ground. Another tragedy occurred in November 2006, when a single command aircraft also from 71 Air Fleet in Campia Turzii crashed to the ground in Beliu village, Arad County. The pilot died on the spot. In February 2005, Defence Ministry officials have decided to give up the use of MIG 21 Lancer, the aircrafts are to be taken out of use until 2013, when the Romanian air fleet will be completed by 48 new planes.

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