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Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23 'Flogger'
Image Gallery 10

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Benghazi, Libya - 19 March 2011 - PLUMMETING to earth in flames, this is the dramatic moment when a Libyan MiG-23 fighter jet was apparently shot down over the rebel strongheld of Benghazi.

People can be heard cheering in the background of video footage which shows the Russian-built plane as it spirals to the ground and crashes on the western outskirts of the city.

Just seconds after an initial explosion, the pilot was seen ejecting from the stricken aircraft. His parachute can be seen opening moments before the MiG-23 crashes into buildings and bursts into a ball of fire.

Libya had been a large-scale buyer of the Soviet jets and though many are unserviceable, several have been used in the conflict.

The crash was at first thought to be a victory over Gaddafi's forces, but a spokesman for the rebels later said the jet was one of their own. He speculated the plane had been hit by the air defenses of Muammar Gaddafi. The MiG-23, probably flown by a military pilot who passed over to the Free Libyan Air Force, was hit while flying over Benghazi.

It was later reported that the aircraft was shot down by air defenses of its own side, and the pilot was killed after ejecting too late.


MiG-23 (38k) Series of photos showing a stricken MiG-23 fighter crashing in Libya
MiG-23 (17k) Flames erupting from a MiG-23 flying for the Libyan rebels after being hit by air defenses
MiG-23 (9k) Closeup of the rebel MiG-23 shortly after being hit
MiG-23 (27k) MiG-23 turning and pitching over as it spirals to the ground
MiG-23 (24k) Closeup of the pilot ejecting from the doomed MiG-23 fighter jet
MiG-23 (31k) Flaming MiG-23 continuing its dive towards the ground
MiG-23 (20k) Closeup of the MiG-23 as the pilot's parachute begins deploying
MiG-23 (53k) Flames emerging from the exhaust nozzle of a rebel MiG-23 shot down by its own side over Libya
MiG-23 (61k) Closeup of the MiG-23 rolling to the left and the ejecting pilot
MiG-23 (34k) Smoke hangs over the city of Benghazi as the MiG-23 continues its plummet to earth
MiG-23 (29k) Upper fuselage of the rebel MiG-23 almost entirely obscured by fire
MiG-23 (22k) Closeup of the MiG-23 engulfed in flames
MiG-23 (52k) Another view of a rebel MiG-23 shot down by rebel forces during the Libya civil war
MiG-23 (46k) Intense fire blazing along the upper fuselage of the stricken MiG-23
MiG-23 (31k) MiG-23 continues yawing to its left as the pilot tries parachuting to safety
MiG-23 (35k) Closeup of the MiG-23 shortly before hitting the ground
MiG-23 (45k) Fireball erupting from a crashed rebel MiG-23 shot down during the Libya civil war
MiG-23 (38k) Smoke and flames mark the MiG-23 crash site in the Libyan city of Benghazi

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