Moscow, June 9: A Russian military pilot was killed today after his fighter jet crashed near Moscow, the defence ministry announced, with sources saying the warplane belonged to the air force's aerobatic display team.
The Su-27 aircraft did not have any weapons onboard at the time and the crash did not cause any damage on the ground, according to the defence ministry. "(A) jet of the Russian air force crashed as it was returning to its home aerodrome in the Moscow region after a planned flight.
The pilot died," the ministry said in a statement carried by news agencies. Sources told news agencies that the jet was from the Russian Knights display team - the country's equivalent of Britain's famed Red Arrows - and ploughed into the ground some 35 kilometres northeast of the capital as it was flying in formation with five other planes.
An unnamed source told TASS news agency that the dead pilot was Sergei Yeryomenko, who appears on the website of the Russian Knights as a member of the team.
This is not the first time that tragedy has struck Russia's leading aerobatic display team. In 2009 one of the group's pilots was killed in a collision between two jets as they were rehearsing for an airshow outside Moscow.
In 1995 four members died after three of the group's jets slammed into a mountain during poor weather in Vietnam.