Pilot, crew member eject moments before jet crashes at Michigan air show
BELLEVILLE, Mich. (WISH) — Video captured the moment a pilot and crew member bailed from the cockpit of a vintage jet moments before it went down during a Michigan air show.
The Wayne County Airport Authority says the MiG-23 demonstration plane crashed just after 4 p.m. Sunday during Thunder Over Michigan, a two-day airshow featuring more than 50 different aircraft.
The retired Russian MiG-23 jet was mid-performance when the pilot and crew member parachuted from the cabin as the plane curved left and disappeared behind the tree line. Moments later, the jet burst into a fireball, sending a giant plume of smoke into the air.
Authorities say the plane crashed in an apartment complex parking lot full of empty cars about 30 miles west of Detroit.
No injuries were reported at the parking lot or at the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville where the air show was taking place.
After ejecting from the jet, the pilot and crew member landed in a body of water where many people had taken boats out to watch the air show. They were taken to the hospital as a precaution. Officials say they did not appear to have any significant injuries.
As of Monday morning, authorities had not released the name of the pilot or the backseater.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.
According to the Yankee Air Museum’s website, the Soviet-era Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23UB was owned by retired Navy pilot Dan Filer.
According to Military Factory, the MiG-23 “Flogger” became the first true “swing wing” fighter to enter service with the Soviet Union. It’s Mach-2 capable and can be worth millions of dollars, according to Aerocorner.com.
Several people who witnessed the crash posted videos on ‘X’ videos of people who witnessed the crash. Many of the videos came with captions of disbelief.
Thunder Over Michigan was celebrating 25 years of its air show this weekend. This year’s event featured four air shows held over two days. The proceeds of the show benefit the Yankee Air Museum.