Reno man flying with California Air Guard dies in Ukraine crash

Su-27 fighter jet

A Ukrainian aviator was also killed in the October 17 crash of the Sukhoi Su-27 plane in the Khmelnytskyy region, some 180 kilometers southwest of Kyiv, the Ukrainian and USA militaries said. The mishap occurred during a familiarization flight as part of Exercise Clear Sky 2018.

"We share in the sorrow felt by Jethro's loved ones and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends as well as those of the Ukrainian aviator". Jethro was deployed to Ukraine for the Clear Sky 2018 exercise.

"We are sad to report that according to the search-and-rescue group, the bodies of two pilots were found", the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said in a statement posted to its website.

"This kind of flight is done by very experienced pilots", he added.

"The second crewman [of the crashed fighter jet] was a serviceman of the US Air National Guard", the Ukrainian Air Force press center said in a statement.

The cause of the crash is being investigated by the USA and Ukrainian governments.

The Military Prosecutors Office of Central Region has already opened a criminal case on the "violation of flying rules", reads a statement published on its website on October 16.

Exercise Clear Sky 2018 is a multinational exercise that involves approximately 950 personnel from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Ukraine is not a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member but has declared interest in joining the alliance.

"On behalf of all Californians, Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor California Air National Guard Lt. Col. Seth "Jethro" Nehring, who bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation", the release from Governor Brown's office read. This year marked the 25th anniversary of collaboration between the California ANG and Ukraine as part of U.S. European Command's State Partnership Program, according to USAFE-AFAFRICA. "Aircraft from California units will include F-15C Eagles and a C-130J Super Hercules", said the Air Force.

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