Bulgarian military prosecutors charge colonel over death of MiG-29 pilot

The Military District Prosecutor’s Office in Sofia has laid criminal charges against a senior military officer in connection with the June 2021 crash of a Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29 in which its pilot, Major Valentin Terziev, died, the Prosecutor’s Office said on November 7.

Colonel Metodi Orlov, who was fire commander during the exercise that was being held near Shabla on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, is charged with causing death through negligence and causing serious damage to the Defence Ministry through the loss of the fighter jet, said in the statement to have been worth just more than nine million leva.

Military prosecutors allege that Orlov had failed to order Terziev not to fire a missile at a luminous parachute target during the night exercise. After firing at the target at an altitude of just more than 1000 metres, Terziev did not have enough time to safely exit the attack, resulting in his fighter jet hitting the water.

According to the statement, the minimum altitude for firing during this type of exercise is 4000 metres.

The prosecutors said that Orlov had not fulfilled his duties as a fire commander and had not taken the necessary safety measures, which caused serious damage to the Defence Ministry through the loss of the fighter jet.

The statement said that Orlov had been ordered to sign a register pending trial. This means that he has not been taken into custody.

(Archive photo: US Air Force)

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