A Russian fighter plane crashed into a residential area in a Russian city on the Sea of Azov on Monday after an engine failure, killing at least 13 people, three of whom jumped from the top floors of a nine-story apartment building to escape a massive explosion. fire.
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, Russia’s defense ministry said. It said both crew members got out of the boat safely, but the plane crashed into a residential area, sparking a fire as tons of fuel exploded on impact.
After hours of combing through the building’s charred rubble, authorities said 13 residents, including three children, were found dead. Another 19 were hospitalized with injuries. Officials had initially estimated the death toll at four.
The region’s deputy governor Anna Menkova said three of the four victims died when they jumped from the top floors of the building in a desperate attempt to escape the flames, the RIA-Novosti news agency said.
Authorities reserved emergency rooms at local hospitals and piloted medical planes. More than 500 residents were evacuated and provided with temporary housing.
The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin was aware of the crash and sent health and emergency ministers along with the local governor to the site. Yeysk, a city of 90,000 inhabitants, is home to a major Russian air base.
Hours after the crash, regional governor Veniamin Kondratyev said emergency services were able to contain the blaze, eliminating the need to evacuate residents in neighboring buildings.
Surveillance camera videos posted to Russian messaging app channels show a plane exploding in a giant fireball. Other videos showed an apartment building engulfed in flames and loud bangs from the apparent detonation of the fighter’s weapons.
Oksana, a local who refused to give her last name, told Agence France-Presse that the area had been 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.
“Of course I am in shock. My child was home alone. We used to go to sleep every day with fear –is across the street from us,” she said.
The Su-34 is a supersonic twin-engine bomber equipped with advanced sensors and weapons that has been an important attack component of the Russian Air Force. The aircraft has been widely used during:and .
Monday’s accident marked the 10th reported non-combat crash of a Russian fighter jet since Moscow sent its troops to Ukraine on Feb. 24. Military experts have noted that the number of Russian military flights increased sharply during the fighting, as did the crashes.