PROSTORNOYE, Kazakhstan, April 25 (UPI) -- Kazakh air force officials said they grounded the nation's fleet of MiG jet fighters Thursday following a crash earlier this week that killed the pilot.
The Mikoyan MiG-31 interceptor went down Tuesday in the village of Prostornoye, killing Col. Marat Yedigeyev and injuring the navigator. A statement issued by the Military Prosecutor's Office said the crew managed to eject from the aircraft before it crashed, but Yedigeyev jumped too late for his parachute to open.
The Defense Ministry blamed the crash on a "technical failure" and has opened a criminal investigation for "violation of flight rules and flight preparation."
In the meantime, military authorities said they have grounded MiG flights, though it is unclear if the grounding only applies to MiG-31 interceptor planes or if it includes other models, RIA Novosti reported.
"We've halted MiG flights until the cause of crash is cleared up," Kazakhstan's Air Defense Forces chief Lt. Gen. Alexander Sorokin said.
The Defense Ministry said the aircraft that crashed had undergone a major overhaul December at a Russian factory. The plane had flown 42 hours since then and was in its fifth flight of the day when it crashed, RIA Novosti reported.