Russian Su-27 Pilot Dies During Rescue Mission After Being Pulled From Ocean

Russian Su-27 Pilot Dies During Rescue Mission After Being Pulled From Ocean
A Russian SU-27 Flanker aircraft photographed from an RAF Typhoon.

On March 26, 2020, Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 reportedly crashed into the Black Sea during a routine flight, 50 km from Théodosie.

A rescue operation was immediately launched. An An-26 aircraft and a Mi-8 helicopter from the Southern Military District emergency services were deployed in the crash zone.

According to Russian news outlets, a search at sea was conducted in “difficult conditions” for the missing Su-27 pilot. A report that surfaced last night, in the Russian, Moscow time zone (UTC+3), said, “Two vessels are in the area. Weather conditions are difficult, water temperature is 9 degrees Celsius, with strong winds and waves. Visibility is poor”. Last night a Rosmorrechflot spokesperson said the search mission would continue in the nighttime.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense also said last night that, “An emergency radio beacon signal was detected in the area”. The official news release went on to say, “The search for the pilot in the area of the operation is complicated by difficult weather conditions”.

Weather reports in the region from Weather.com showed moderate to high winds, rain, poor visibility and waves. The emergency radio locator beacon that was reported to have been detected by Russian authorities may have been automatically triggered by the aircraft’s ejection sequence depending upon its configuration.

“There was no order to suspend the search for the night. As long as there is hope of finding survivors, the search will continue,” he said.

The search for the downed pilot was launched as soon as the aircraft disappeared from radar last night. Reports indicated the pilot was located in the water after sunrise this morning with help from the emergency locator beacon and rescued alive. Russian news reports translated to English said that “He was taken to one of the hospitals in the city (on the nearest road). But because of strong cold he was not able to save him. The water temperature in the area of the plane was not higher than 5-7 degrees.” Based on these reports it is probable that the pilot may have succumbed to hypothermia.

The Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO Flanker Code) is a Russian single-seat fighter aircraft equipped with a 30 mm cannon and having a range of 3,900 kilometers. It has given birth to many versions, some of which have been given a new designation: Su-30, Su-33, Su-35, Su-37.

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