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Russian military plane crashes into apartments

October 17, 2022

The crash of the fighter plane in the southern city of Yeysk engulfed the apartments in a huge fireball. As the search for survivors came to an end, Russian media reported that some 13 people had been killed.

A firefighter stands next a fire-damaged building as water is sprayed onto the scene
Search operations have come to an end, with at least 13 people reported deadImage: AP/dpa/picture alliance

A military aircraft has crashed into a residential building in the port town of Yeysk in Russia's southwestern Krasnodar Krai region, according to local authorities. 

Some 13 residents were killed in the accident, Russian media quoted a Health Ministry spokesman as saying early Tuesday.

Yeysk is located on the Azov Sea coast, near Russia's border with Ukraine. The town is home to around 90,000 people, along with a Russian air base.

The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had been informed of the incident, and had ordered the health and emergency ministers to fly to the region. He ordered "all necessary assistance" to be given to those affected by the incident, Russian news agency TASS reported.

What damage did the crash cause?

According to the state RIA news agency, Russia's Defense Ministry said the crash of the Su-34 bomber set off a fire spanning some 2,000 square meters (21,500 square feet).

Several hours after the crash, Krasnodar Krai Governor Veniamin Kondratyev said emergency services had managed to put out the fire.

A huge explosion at an apartment block in the evening, as a crewmember parachutes to safety
Authorities said engine failure caused the plane to crash into a building, engulfing a nine-story building in flamesImage: Kooperativ Telegram Channel/AP/dpa/picture alliance

Deputy Governor Anna Minkova initially said that three people had died, and another 10 had been taken to hospital. The death toll was later revised to six, with six others missing.

On Tuesday, with search operations complete, the death toll stood at 13. Russian news agencies cited emergency officials as saying that at least 19 people had been injured. Some 250 residents of the building were evacuated, according to local emergency officials.

Kondratyev said the fire engulfed several floors of a nine-story building, affecting at least 17 apartments. He added that his administration was "providing maximum assistance" to residents, and promised to figure out the situation with the damaged apartments.

How did the crash happen?

The Defense Ministry said the aircraft crashed during a training flight from a nearby military airfield. The ministry said both crewmembers had been able to successfully eject from the plane.

RIA cited the Defense Ministry as saying that the pilots had reported that the jet had malfunctioned after one of its engines caught fire on takeoff. The ministry added that aircraft's fuel caught fire after it hit the apartment building.

Shortly after announcing the crash, Russia's Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal case and sent investigators to the scene of the incident.

Before the incident, Russia had seen nine reported non-combat crashes of warplanes since the start of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine on February 24. In June, a military aircraft came down in the city of Ryazan, located southeast of Moscow, killing four people and injuring five.

sdi/wmr (Reuters, AP, AFP)