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Mig-31 fighter crashes in central Russia

A Mikoyan Mig-31 of the Russian Air Force has crashed in the Perm Region. Both pilots of the interceptor jet died in the Tuesday incident.

The Defense Ministry said the aircraft had made an emergency landing on a field, flipped over and burned down.

A source in the regional police told RIA Novosti that the jet was damaged by an explosion while still in the air.

The supersonic Mig-31 went off radars on Tuesday morning, four minutes after taking off from its base in Bolshoye Savinovo. The crash site was discovered an hour later some 11 kilometers from the airfield.

The bodies of the two pilots have been recovered. The aircraft's black boxes have reportedly been found and sent to the Investigative Committee for expert analysis.

An engine malfunction is seen as one of the likely causes of the crash. As the jet was operating in difficult weather conditions, this could also have had an impact on the aircraft.

The Air Force has grounded all Mig-31s until the investigation into the crash is complete.

Last November, a similar incident happened in the Perm Region. A Mig-31 from the same base crashed during a training flight. Back then both pilots ejected from the stalled aircraft and survived.