A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-34, RF-81726/20 red, operated by 303rd Composite Aviation Division, 277th Red Banner Bomber Aviation Regiment, crashed immediately after takeoff due to a technical malfunction in the yard of an apartment building in Yeysk, about 4 km east from the end of the runway of Yeysk Airport (EIK/URKE).
There are fourteen fatalities on the ground and a vast number of people is injured. The death toll of the Su-34 bomber crash in Yeysk increased to 15, Krasnodar Region Deputy Governor Anna Minkova told TASS Tuesday.
Both pilots managed to eject safely and the aircraft was destroyed.
The incident was due to one of the engines catching fire, reported state-run news agency RIA Novosti, which cited Russia’s Defense Ministry.
“According to the report of the ejected pilots, the cause of the plane crash was the ignition of one of the engines during take-off. At the site of the crash of the Su-34 in the courtyard of one of the residential quarters, the plane’s fuel ignited,” the ministry said in a statement to RIA.
The conditions of the ejected pilots are not clear.
Fifteen bodies, including those of three children, were removed from the debris as of Tuesday, according to Russian officials. Earlier state media reports said at least 25 people were injured.
“The tragedy claimed the lives of 15 people. I offer my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims,” the governor of the Krasnodar Krai region, Veniamin Kondratiev, said in a statement on his Telegram channel on Tuesday.
Yeysk is a port town on the shore of the Sea of Azov and is separated from occupied Russian territory in southern Ukraine by a narrow stretch of the sea.
Images and videos of the crash’s aftermath showed smoke billowing and fire blazing in the residential area. A building, believed to house hundreds of people, was later engulfed in flames, say officials.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told authorities to provide all necessary assistance to the victims of the crash, the Kremlin said in a statement, adding that Putin has received reports from the ministers and the head of the region on the situation.