Ukrainian pilot Vadym Voroshylov with the call sign Karaya, who recently received the title of Hero of Ukraine, has told how he managed to escape from his burning MiG-29 warplane on the day he shot down five Iranian drones.
The pilot described the events of Oct. 12 in a video published on the YouTube channel of the Air Force of Ukraine on Dec. 8.
"My morning started at 4 a.m.," Voroshylov said.
“The ‘air’ signal was given. One pilot destroyed two ‘Shaheds’ (Iranian suicide drones) in the south of Ukraine. I was the next to go. I also destroyed three, and landed at the operational airfield. Then there was a working day on other tasks and in the evening (the attacks) resumed. I took off from an operational airfield in the south of Ukraine and then destroyed air targets over the skies of Vinnytsia Oblast.”
According to him, during the destruction of the fifth target, his aircraft was damaged by debris.
"The canopy was destroyed,” the pilot said.
“This is the cockpit window in simple terms. And the destruction of the front part — the nose of the aircraft. I was not badly injured, but the blood prevented me from fully assessing the situation. My first thought was that I did not want to eject. On the course I saw some settlement. Then I did not know what kind of settlement it was. I saw only lights. I checked the control of the aircraft along the longitudinal channel, unfortunately, it was no longer under control. It was steering on the transverse channel. I saw ablack area in front of me and concluded that it was probably a field.”
When a fire started right in the cockpit of the warplane, Voroshylov directed it towards the field and ejected.
"Then fire started inside the cockpit,” he recalls.
“When the flames began to reach me, I ejected. Without delay, as the book taught me. I was descending by parachute for about two minutes. I had time to think, see everything and plan further actions after landing.”
Voroshylov also explained why he took a photo of his blood-covered face immediately after ejection. According to him, he wanted to assess his injuries. The photo later began to circulate on social media in early December.
On the same day as the crash on Oct. 12, the Commander of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk initiated a petition to award the pilot the distinguished title of Hero of Ukraine.
On Dec. 8, Major Vadym Voroshylov was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine and the Order of the Golden Star by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.