MOSCOW: A Russian warplane slammed into a residential building in the Siberian city of Irkutsk Sunday, killing both crewmembers — the second incident in less than a week in which a combat jet has crashed in a residential area.
The accidents appeared to reflect the growing strain that the fighting in Ukraine has put on the Russian air force.
Irkutsk Gov. Igor Kobzev said the Su-30 fighter jet came down on a private, two-story building housing two families. There were no casualties on the ground.
Irkutsk, a major industrial center of more than 600,000 in eastern Siberia, is home to an aircraft factory producing the Su-30s.
The Su-30 is a supersonic twin-engine, two-seat fighter that has been a key component of the Russian air force and also has been used by China, India and many 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 wasn’t immediately known and an official probe has started.
A surveillance cam video posted on Russian social networks showed the fighter coming down in a nearly vertical dive. Other videos showed the building engulfed by flames and firefighters deployed to extinguish the blaze.
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 and injuring another 19.
Sunday’s crash was the 11th reported noncombat crash of a Russian warplane since Moscow sent its troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. Military experts have noted that as the number of Russian military flights increased sharply during the fighting, so did the number of crashes.