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Remains of two pilots found after 47 years

Air Force Captain Poyarkov Yuri Nikolaevich.
Air Force Captain Poyarkov Yuri Nikolaevich.

The remains of a Vietnamese and a Russian pilot have been found 47 years after they went missing.
The two pilots were manning a MiG-21U aircraft that went missing on April 30, 1971. It had crashed into the side of Tam Dao Mountain in the northern province of Thai Nguyen.

Dinh Duc Trong, chief of staff from Thai Nguyen Military Headquarters, said search teams had located the remains on Friday, the fifth day of a planned 10-day search.

“One of the pilots was Vietnamese, and the other one Russian. Only one body had its bones intact,” Trong said.

The Vietnamese pilot was Cong Phuong Thao and the other one was his trainer, Air Force Captain Poyarkov Yuri Nikolaevich from the former Soviet Union.

In 2017, after locals found a piece of the MiG-21U on the mountainside, the Vietnamese Air Force and the Thai Nguyen Military Headquarters began sending search teams to look for the pilots’ bodies.

In the latest search, 50 people, including soldiers, militia and locals found the bodies just two meters away from where the aircraft piece had been found.

The bodies of two pilots have been taken to Thai Nguyen Military Headquarters. “DNA tests are being done, and the funeral for these pilots will be held once the final results are informed,” Trong added.

On April 30, 1971, the MiG-21U aircraft belonging to Air Force Regiment 921 lost contact during a training flight over the Tam Dao area, just 70km away from Hanoi.