In a bizarre incident of drunk driving, a Ukrainian Air Force officer smashed his car into a parked MiG-29 fighter jet of the service, causing a fire and significant damage to the aircraft.
The incident took place on March 10. Images have surfaced over social media showing the damage caused to the aircraft and the Volkswagen Touran car. The Ukrainian Air Force’s Air Command Central acknowledged the incident shortly after it happened.
According to TheDrive, the accident happened at Vasylkiv Air Base in central Ukraine. The aircraft was being towed when it happened.
The officer, who drove the car, was from the 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade. He was given first aid and was admitted to a hospital immediately after the crash. According to the Air Force, the fire caused due to the accident was doused by the firefighting unit of the service.
UKRAINE: A captain in the Ukrainian armed forces accidentally struck a Mig-29 aircraft with his car yesterday. The aircraft was destroyed. pic.twitter.com/MD7TXHzXoe
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) March 12, 2021
The Air Force also announced that a formal investigation was being carried out into the incident.
The images show the aircraft sustaining damages to the engine’s right exhaust nozzle, the tail fin, and the rear stabilizer. The fire caused damage to some other parts as well. The Volkswagen Touran also got badly damaged from the front. The officer has received injuries to the head and chest.
According to SouthFront, the aircraft shall be most likely decommissioned from service and salvaged for spare parts.
The Ukrainian Air Force operates about 35 Soviet-era MiG-29s and a similar number of Su-27 Flankers. The Lviv State Aviation Repair Plant began upgrading the country’s MiG-29 fleet in 2018, with new and improved radars, avionics, navigation systems, and defensive countermeasures.
The MiG-29s have played a crucial role in the country’s defense forces in recent years. In April 2014, during the military intervention in Crimea, 45 Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29s and 4 L-39 combat trainers were reportedly captured by Russian forces at the Belbek airbase.
Most of the planes appeared to be in inoperable condition. In May, Russian troops dismantled them and shipped them back to Ukraine.
The fighter jets have also participated in the war in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, performing combat air patrols and a show of force.