A Kazakhstan MIG-31 fighter jet that was recently serviced by a Russian facility has crashed while staging night exercises, killing one pilot and injuring the other, the Kazakh military said Wednesday.
A "technical failure" is suspected of causing the crash around 10:41 p.m. Tuesday near the Kazakh city of Karaganda, the Kazakh Defense Ministry said in a statement carried by Interfax.
The two pilots successfully ejected from the plane, but the captain, Colonel Marat Yedigeyev, subsequently died of injuries sustained in the accident, the ministry said. The co-pilot, Major Ruslan Galimzyanov, has been hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
The ministry did not elaborate on the nature of the technical failure but noted that the plane had recently returned to the Kazakh air force after undergoing scheduled maintenance work in the Russian city of Rzhev in the Tver region in December. The ministry said the plane had flown only 42 hours after the maintenance work and that it had contacted the Rzhev facility, Aircraft Repair Plant No. 514, in connection with the crash.
A criminal investigation has been opened.