June 15, 2024 1:22 am

Michigan air show: MiG-23 jet crashes moments after two occupants eject

Two people aboard a Soviet-era warplane ejected to safety just before it crashed and “burst into a raging fireball” during a Michigan air show, officials said.

The pilot and passenger sitting tandem in the MiG-23 jet were operating the plane as part of the Thunder Over Michigan air show on Sunday.

Parachutes carried them safely to the ground, where they were then sent to the hospital out of precaution.

There have been no reported injuries.

The crash occurred shortly after 16:00 ET (21:00 BST) on Sunday in Belleville, Michigan, during the Yankee Air Museum’s Thunder over Michigan air show, according to a Wayne County Airport Authority statement.

The jet crashed into unoccupied vehicles in a parking lot at the Waverly on the Lake Apartments, narrowly missing one apartment building, the airport authority said.

The plane then “burst into a raging fireball”, as local media described it, shortly before emergency crews arrived to extinguish the flames. Thick clouds of black smoke bellowing into the sky could be seen from the ground.

Video footage of the incident shows two short bursts of flames coming from the aircraft as the pilot and passenger are each ejected.

The cause of the crash remains unclear. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.

The old Russian war craft was piloted by Dan Filer, who is a retired Navy pilot from Texas, according to the air show’s website.

“It’s the only privately owned flying MiG-23 in the world,” Mr Filer, who collects Soviet-made fighter jets, told a local news outlet in Louisiana last year.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 was one of the most utilised Soviet war planes during the Cold War, known for its advanced radar and fire control system. It could fire missiles at targets beyond visual range, according to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

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