Both pilots of Su-27 fighter dead, - military spokesman


"We regret to inform that, according to the search and rescue team, the bodies of two pilots have been found: one is a soldier of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, while another one is a soldier of the Air Forces of the U.S. National Guard", the press service of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has reported.

During the combat training flight, the aircraft started to lose altitude and the pilots headed it away from residential districts to prevent civilian casualties, the General Staff said in a message published on Facebook on October 16, referring to locals who witnessed the crash.

"At this moment, we can only say that a U.S. service member was involved in the incident, and that it is still under investigation", Capt. Christopher Bowyer-Meeder, a spokesman for U.S. Air Forces Europe, said in an email.

The U.S. Army has an ongoing mission in Western Ukraine focused on training indigenous ground forces involved in the fight against Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine's east.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry confirmed in a statement that an SU-27 fighter jet had crashed Tuesday afternoon "in the area of Ulanov, between the settlements of Berdychiv and Khmilnyk".

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We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available. USAFE also said that mishap is already under investigation.

According to Ukrainian military portal, the fighter participated in the worldwide drills Clear Sky 2018. The exercises, called Clear Sky-2018, include members of the California's National Guard's Fresno-based 144th Fighter Wing group, according to a Facebook post.

Personnel from the United States and seven other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states are taking part in the Clear Sky drills, which run until October 21.

Training during the exercise was scheduled to include air sovereignty, air interdiction, air-to-ground integration, air-mobility operations, aeromedical evacuation, cyber defense and personnel recovery.