The pilot of the MIG-29 fighter aircraft that crashed into the Black Sea, did not survive

The pilot of the MIG-29 fighter aircraft that crashed into the Black Sea, did not survive
Image: Ministry of Defence

During the search operation it was found that the pilot of the MiG-29 fighter aircraft, Major Valentin Terziev, died on June 9 during the training exercise for shooting at an air target (illuminated parachute target) at night, Bulgaria’s Ministry of Defence said on June 10.

Major Valentin Dimitrov Terziev (47) has been in military service since August 1998. He graduated from the Higher Air Force School "G. Benkovski” with a specialization as a pilot in the Air Force. His entire service has been spent at the 3rd Graf Ignatievo Air Base, where his last position was Chief of Staff of the squadron. He has a class specialty "military pilot - first class". He flew MiG-21 and MiG-29 aircraft. Over the years, he has been awarded many times by the Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence, the Commander of the Air Force and the Commander of the Air Base.

During his service in the Air Force and until his last training flight, Major Terziev performed responsibly and professionally the tasks of protecting the inviolability of the airspace of Bulgaria.

The Ministry of Defence expresses its condolences to the relatives and friends of the pilot.


Pilot Major Valentin Terziev has been missing since the crash, which happened in the early hours of Wednesday, June 9, during an exercise near Shabla.

A search and rescue operation started immediately.

Speaking at a news conference earlier on June 10, Bulgaria’s Chief of Defence, Admiral Emil Eftimov, said that “biological material” was found among the wreckage of the MiG-29 that crashed into the Black Sea .The material was sent for DNA testing.

Eftimov said that efforts were mainly focused on finding the aircraft’s black box, which is important for the analysis of the causes of the crash. He explained that according to experts, the black box should not stay under water for a long time, because this can have a detrimental effect on the data.

The Chief of Defence and experts from the Navy are negotiating with a private company to hire equipment to remove the already identified parts of the plane that crashed near Shabla. It is assumed that they are at a depth of 70 metres.

This morning, two metal objects were found, which may be debris from the plane. This is to be confirmed with additional equipment, he said.

The search operation, which began immediately after the incident and continues today, involved the crews of the corvette "Bodri" and the minesweeper "Tsibar". A diving boat and helicopters "Panther" are ready to take part in the search. The seabed in the area of the incident is inspected with sonar and hydrolocator with side view. The terrain, which the servicemen from the Navy are inspecting, is 20 square miles.

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