A Russian warplane has crashed into a residential building in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, killing both crew members – the second such fatal incident in a Russian residential area in six days involving a Sukhoi fighter plane.
The plane crashed into apartment building after both pilots reportedly blacked out and suffocated in the cockpit before crashing into the building.
The crashes appear to reflect the growing strain that the fighting in Ukraine has put on the Russian air force. The Irkutsk governor, Igor Kobzev, said the Su-30 fighter jet came down on a private, two-storey building housing two families. There were no casualties on the ground.
Irkutsk, a major industrial centre in eastern Siberia with a population of more than 600,000, is home to an aircraft factory producing the Su-30SM.
The Su-30SM is a supersonic twin-engine, two-seat fighter that has been a key component of the Russian air force and has also been used by China, India and other countries.
The United Aircraft Corporation, a state-controlled conglomerate of Russian aircraft-making plants, said in a statement that the plane came down during a training flight before its delivery to the air force. The jet carried no weapons during the flight.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known and an official investigation has begun.
A surveillance camera video posted on Russian social networks showed the fighter jet coming down in an almost vertical dive. Other video footage showed the building engulfed by flames and firefighters deployed to extinguish the fire.
The crash came less than a week after an Su-34 bomber crashed near an apartment building in the Sea of Azov port of Yeysk and exploded in a giant fireball, killing 15 people and injuring a further 19.
The crash on Sunday was the 11th reported non-combat crash of a Russian warplane since Moscow sent its troops into Ukraine on 24 February. Military experts have noted that as the number of Russian military flights increased sharply during the conflict, so did the number of crashes.
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