Monday, 14 August 2023

WATCH: Pilots Eject From MiG-23 In Mid-Air, Jet Explodes During Michigan Air Show

 Two pilots ejected from a MiG-23 jet during an air show in Michigan on Sunday, shortly before an explosion occurred in mid-air that sent the aircraft crashing into several unoccupied parked vehicles in a nearby apartment complex.

Wayne County Airport Authority told local media the pilots crashed a MiG-23 demonstration plane into the parking lot at the Waverly on the Lake Apartments in the city of Belleville around 4:00 p.m. while performing at the Yankee Air Museum’s Thunder Over Michigan air show.

“The pilot and backseater successfully ejected from the aircraft before the crash,” Wayne County Airport Authority told Fox 2 Detroit. “While it did not appear they sustained any significant injuries, first responders transported the pair to a nearby hospital as a precaution.”

Authorities reported the aircraft struck unoccupied vehicles in the apartment complex’s parking lot, and no one at the apartment complex nor the air show sustained any significant injuries.

Emergency crews rescued the pilots from Belleville Lake and transported them to a nearby hospital, according to The Detroit News.

Kevin McNamara, Van Buren Township supervisor, told WTOL11 one pilot ejected into the lake while the other landed in a tree, hurting the two “pretty bad,” but both “will be okay.”

McNamara said the jet slid about 100 yards near an apartment building after it initially crashed on an abandoned golf course.

“We’re a subdivision community,” he said. “It landed next to a lake. There are not very many empty properties next to lakes. This happens to be one of the rare properties there are. It’s a miracle.”

Although the cause remains unknown, the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have reportedly stated both agencies would investigate and provide updates when available.

Thunder Over Michigan started roughly an hour before the incident occurred. Around 4:30 p.m., officials directed attendants to leave the airfield in a post on the event’s Facebook page.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a situation that requires us to stop the show,” the post reads. “Please make your way into your vehicles and calmly make your way out of the airfield.”

Before it began, president and CEO of the Yankee Air Museum, Kevin Walsh, reportedly said the event showcases 55 modern and vintage military planes from around the world.

Walsh, who has been coordinating the event for the last 25 years, said he hopes the show inspires people.

“Everyone that flies one of these planes went to an airshow as a kid, and it’s sensational,” he said. “How they feel, how they fly, how they smell and how they sound, it’s all about the experience.”

Mark McCulloch, 49, from Saline, told local media he witnessed the jet malfunctioning after another airshow attendant pointed toward the plane and said, “Oh my God.”

“I had my Nikon D-800 with a 600 mm lens — that’s what I saw,” McCulloch said. “I hope no one got hurt at the crash site. There was no loud noises or indication that I witnessed. Two engines blew out, you could see that, but I couldn’t hear it because the guy on the PA was talking next to us.”

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