MOSCOW, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A $30 million Russian fighter jet crashed into the Mediterranean Sea earlier this month because it ran out of fuel while it waited for an aircraft carrier to fix its landing equipment, U.S. naval officials said.
The Soviet-era Mikoyan MiG-29K crashed Nov. 13 off the coast of Syria after its first attempt to land on the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov failed, the United States Naval Institute said Tuesday, based on the translation of a Russian report.
The MiG-29K was flying a sortie with two other aircraft in the area near Syria and was the last that attempted to land. When the aircraft ahead of the MiG broke the landing cable on the carrier, the pilot had to fly out over the Mediterranean and wait for the cable to be repaired, the Russian report said.
While the aircraft was awaiting the repairs, it ran out of fuel and dropped into the sea.
"While in the holding area, both of the fighter's engines shut down," the translation of the Russian report said. "A preliminary explanation is that they were no longer receiving fuel. ln such situations, a fighter falls like a rock, and the pilot has only one option -- to eject."
The MiG pilot did eject and was rescued by helicopter a short time later.
NATO ships in the area offered to assist, but the Russians refused, a NATO official told USNI News last week.
The MiG-29K was developed and made its first flight in the 1980s but didn't enter Russian service until 2010. Each jet costs about $30 million.