Fighter jet crashes in Romania

A Romanian Air Force pilot died on Saturday afer his fighter jet crashed during an airshow in the south east of the country, the Romanian Defence Ministry said.

Lieutenant Florin Rotaru, 36, was flying the MiG21 Lancer during a display in the town of Fetesti, 90km (56 miles) from the Black Sea coast, where thousands of spectators gathered.

No one else was hurt.

“Words are too little to describe the pain felt by the Romanian Army afer this loss”, Defence Minister Mihai Fifor wrote on Facebook.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident, with Fifor saying that Romania’s fighter jets are functioning “perfectly”.

Prosecutors opened an investigation regarding the fatal crash.

The Soviet-era MiGs are primary jets for the Romanian Air Force which has been using them for the last five decades and still relies on them for missions of air policing.

Last time a MiG crashed in Romania was in 2017, near Mihail Kogalniceau airbase, where American troops are stationed. The pilot survived after he managed to eject himself.

Eleven pilots died from 1994 until present and 19 MiG jet fighters crashed, according to statistics published by local media.

Romania is investing billions of dollars into modernising its Air Force in the context of regional tensions generated by Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea.

Romania has already bought 12 American-made F16 fighter jets from Portugal and is planing to acquire another 40 in the coming years. (AFP)