DEVELOPING STORYDEVELOPING STORY,
A large fire engulfs the building and witnesses say it burns from the first to ninth floors.
A military plane has crashed into a residential building in the southern Russian city of Yeysk after the defense ministry said it was engine failure.
Unconfirmed images on social media showed a large fireball erupting from a multi-storey building on Monday. There were no direct reports of the number of casualties in the port city on the Sea of Azov.
The aircraft was identified as a Sukhoi Su-34 fighter jet. According to the Defense Ministry, the crew managed to eject before the plane crashed.
A major fire engulfed the building, fueled by jet fuel, and witnesses were quoted by Russia’s Tass news agency as saying it was on fire from the first to ninth floors. Firefighters were busy fighting the fire.
“While climbing to conduct a training flight from the military airport of the Southern Military District, an Su-34 plane crashed,” a statement from the ministry said. “The cause of the plane’s crash was a fire in one of the engines during take-off.”
The Interfax news agency quoted emergency services as saying that five floors of the apartment complex were on fire, the top floors had collapsed and about 45 apartments had been damaged.
The fire spread over 2,000 square meters (21,500 square feet), it said. Yeysk, a city of about 90,000 inhabitants, is home to a major Russian air base.
‘Determining the Circumstances’
The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin was immediately notified of the crash and ordered health and emergency services ministers along with the local governor to go to the site.
Governor Veniamin Kondratyev said on Telegram that “all fire and rescue units in the region are working to put out the fire”.
The Russian Commission of Inquiry later announced that it had launched a criminal investigation into the crash. “Military investigators are determining the circumstances and causes of the incident,” it said.
Yeysk is located on the Gulf of Tangarog in the Sea of Azov, which separates southern Ukraine and southern Russia.
Yeysk is located directly across the sea from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which is under Russian control after Moscow launched its invasion in February.
The Su-34 is a supersonic twin-engine bomber equipped with advanced sensors and weapons that has been an important part of the Russian Air Force. The aircraft has been used extensively during the war in Syria and the fighting in Ukraine.