A Russian fighter jet crashed in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after launching from its aircraft carrier near the coast of Syria Sunday, two U.S. officials told Fox News.
Three Russian MiG-29 fighter jets took off from their Soviet-era aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, and flew in the direction of Syria. Once airborne, one of the Russian jets appeared to have mechanical difficulties and turned around in the direction of the aircraft carrier, Fox News reports.
The Russian jet splashed down in the water while attempting to land. A Russian rescue helicopter picked up a parachute and the pilot. The pilot`s status was unclear, U.S. intelligence officials said.
The news of the crash came a day after state media claimed Russia was preparing its Tu-95 and Tu-160 long-range bombers for imminent strike missions in Syria.
The MiG-29 was designed in the late-1970s to counter the U.S. Air Force`s F-15 and F-16. It entered service in the early 1980s.
As UaPosition reported earlier, Russia`s “Admiral Kuznetsov” aircraft carrier prepared for strike missions from the sea near Syria. Yet they still represent an important reinforcement for the Russian effort in Syria.