A Romanian Air Force MiG-21 LanceR went missing in the evening hours of March 2 near the Romanian Black Sea coast, the country’s defense ministry confirmed.
The fighter from the 86th Air Base in Borcea, Călărași County, was on a regular patrol mission in the Constanta county in the country’s east when it encountered adverse weather conditions and disappeared from radar at 20:03, local time.
A Romanian Air Force IAR 330 Puma was immediately deployed for a search and rescue mission with five crew on board. The helicopter took off at around 20:21 before it too disappeared from radar some 23 minutes later and about 11 kilometers from the airfield.
The country’s air force said the helicopter was believed to have crashed in the area of Gura Dobrogei, north of the port city of Constanta.
A search and rescue operation for the helicopter and its crew has also been launched.
In an update on the two crashes, the Romanian defense ministry said both the pilot of the MiG-21 and the crew of the Puma helicopter had been found dead. While it initially said that five crew were on board the helicopter, there were actually seven, including two Romanian Navy personnel.
The crashed MiG-21 was part of a formation of two MiG-21 LanceR planes performing air patrol missions over Dobrogea when it crashed in an uninhabited area near Cogealac.
The radio connection of the control tower with the crashed aircraft was lost at 20.00, and at 20.03 it disappeared from the radar, in an area between Cogealac and Gura Dobrogei.
Romania has grounded both the MiG-21 and Puma fleets until an investigation into the crashes is concluded.