LATEST UPDATE 8 AUGUST 2014 | Croatian Air Force and Air Defence Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (NATO-reporting name Fishbed) with number 121 crashed on Tuesday 5 August around 14:47 Zagreb time (13:47 UTC) in the area of Donja Lomnica near Velika Gorica. A picture of the aircraft airborne and on fire is here. More pics are also on Facebook.
The aircraft was returning from an overflight mission of Knin with three other MiG-21s to commemorate the 5 – 7 August 1995 successful retake of the Krajina region (Operation Storm). The pilot of the crashed MiG ejected safely and has been transported to the hospital for a routine medical examination.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich Fishbed that crashed was not one of the planes that recently came back from Ukraine for overhaul. According to the Croatian Ministry of Defence the plane suffered both a failure in the engine as well as the landing gear and hydraulics. It went down in an uninhabited area.
With no. 121 lost the country now apparently has momentarily only a quartet of Fishbeds ready for duty, several sources say, with overhauled MiG-21s slowly returning from the maintenance plant in Ukraine to make it back to active flight status. The MiG-21s are Croatia’s only front-line fighters, with the current four aircraft, their pilots and technicians bearing the full responsibility for the air defence of the Balkan NATO member state on their shoulders.
Source: MORH with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger