A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet has crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia announced Tuesday. Kamchatka is directly across from the Aleutian Chain in Alaska.
A day earlier, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said that it had detected four Russian military aircraft operating in the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone. It’s unclear if the two incidents are related.
Pravda, a pro-government news site in Russia, says the fate of the crew is unknown but other reports say the two onboard perished in the crash. The Russian state news agency TASS has issued no statement.
The Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone is regularly breached by Russian military jets, but NORAD says they are not a threat, just require monitoring.
“NORAD employs a layered defense network of satellites, ground-based and airborne radars and fighter aircraft to tract aircraft and inform appropriate actions,” NORAD said in a press release on July 4.
In April, a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet caught fire and spectacularly crashed near the city of Monchegorsk, Murmansk Oblast, near Finland. The two crew-members ejected before the plane hit the ground.