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Russian pilot who went missing in Afghanistan found alive after 31 years

June 9, 2018

Red Army soldiers stand for review on October 19, 1986, in downtown Kabul during a parade, shortly before they returned to the Soviet Union.
Daniel Janin/AFP

A Russian fighter pilot who went missing in 1987 in Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan war has been found alive, the Americans informed the Russian embassy in Kabul.

“There are a lot of rumors, but nothing is known for sure; so it’s better not to mention any surnames. We need to check if the information is reliable,” said Gennady Sholokhov, an official at the war veterans association.

First Lieutenant Sergey Pantelyuk, born in Zernograd, was ordered to go to Afghanistan in 1987 where thousands of soldiers had been fighting since 1979.

On October 27, 1987, the fighter pilot was flying over Afghan Kunar province where he lost contact with another plane after weather worsened.

The Russians launched a rescue mission after his disappearance but found nothing.

Mr. Pantelyuk just before his disappearance wrote to his wife: “Hello honey… everything is unusual and interesting… don’t worry about me too much.”

His wife, a month later, received a letter from high command: “Your husband is missing in action… We do not consider him dead; we continue to search and wait for him.”

This story originally appeared on Russia Beyond


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