A Russian warplane crashed in a residential area of a Russian city on the Sea of Azov on Monday after suffering engine failure, killing at least four people, three of them jumping from the upper floors of a building nine floors to escape a massive fire.
A Su-34 bomber has crashed in the port city of Yeysk after one of its engines caught fire while taking off for a training mission, the Russian Defense Ministry said. He said the two crew members jumped out safely, but the plane crashed in a residential area, causing a fire as tons of fuel exploded on impact.
Authorities said at least four residents were killed, six were missing and 25 others injured, including eight people in serious condition.
The region’s deputy governor, Anna Menkova, said three of the four victims died jumping from the upper floors of the building in a desperate attempt to escape the flames, according to the RIA-Novosti news agency.
Authorities booked emergency rooms at local hospitals and dispatched medical planes. At least 17 apartments were affected by the fire and 250 residents were evacuated and temporarily housed.
The Kremlin said the Russian presidentwas informed of the accident and ordered the ministers of health and emergencies as well as the local governor to attend the scene. Yeysk, a city of 90,000 people, is home to a large Russian air base.
Several hours after the crash, regional governor Veniamin Kondratyev said emergency services managed to contain the fire, making it unnecessary to evacuate residents from adjacent buildings.
CCTV footage posted on Russian messaging app channels showed a plane exploding in a giant ball of fire. Other videos showed an apartment building engulfed in flames and loud bangs from the apparent detonation of weapons from the warplane.
Oksana, a local resident who declined to give her surname, told AFP’s news service that the area was cordoned off.
“There could be an explosion. Everything is burning inside. There is smoke,” she told AFP.
She said she was stuck in traffic when she heard the news.
“I’m obviously in shock. My child was home alone. We used to go to bed scared every day —is right in front of us,” she said.
The Su-34 is a supersonic twin-engine bomber equipped with sophisticated sensors and weapons that has been a key strike element of the Russian Air Force. The aircraft was used extensively during the war in Syria and fighting in.
Monday’s crash marked the 10th reported crash of a non-combat Russian warplane since Moscow sent troops to Ukraine on February 24. Military experts noted that the number of military flights rose sharply during the fighting, as did accidents.
AFP contributed reporting.