A Russian warplane crashed into a residential area of a Russian city on the Azov Sea on Monday after suffering an engine failure, killing at least four people and leaving six others missing after a massive fire that engulfed several floors of a nine-story condominium.
A Su-34 bomber 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 both crew members were safely rescued, but the plane crashed into 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 another 25 were injured, including eight people who were in serious condition. The authorities have reserved emergency rooms in local hospitals and have taken off medical planes. At least 17 apartments were affected by the fire and around 100 residents were evacuated and provided with temporary housing.
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The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin was briefed on the incident and sent health and emergency ministers along with the local governor to the site. Yeysk, a city of 90,000, is home to a large Russian air base.
Several hours after the incident, regional governor Veniamin Kondratyev said the emergency services managed to contain the fire, making the evacuation of residents to adjacent buildings unnecessary.
Surveillance camera videos posted on Russian messaging app channels showed a plane exploding into a giant fireball. Other videos showed an apartment building engulfed in flames and loud bangs from the apparent detonation of the warplane’s weapons.
The Su-34 is a supersonic twin-engine bomber equipped with sophisticated sensors and weapons that was a key component of the Russian air force attack. The aircraft was used extensively during the war in Syria and the fighting in Ukraine.
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Monday’s crash marked the 10th non-combat crash of a Russian aircraft since Moscow sent its troops to Ukraine on February 24. Military experts noted that as the number of Russian military flights increased significantly during the fighting, so did the incidents.