​Iconic Russian ‘Bear’ strategic bombers grounded after one skids off runway, injuring crew

TU-95 bomber.(Reuters / Defense Ministry of Japan)
A Tu-95 strategic bomber has overshot the runway after taking off in Russia’s Far East, resulting in injuries to several crewmembers. The accident has prompted the Russian Defense Ministry to temporary freeze on all flights carried out by the aircraft.

"The accident occurred during a practice flight at the Ukrainka airfield in the Amur region at 17:00 Moscow time,” said the Russian Defense Ministry. “The Tu-95 overran the runway during acceleration. There was no ammunition onboard. According to preliminary information, a fire in the engine was the cause behind the accident.”

“While leaving the aircraft, several crew members received injuries of various severity and were hospitalized,” the Ministry representative added, who mentioned it was about to take-off on a practice flight.

A special commission from the Air Force command arrived at the scene to investigate the incident. Under the Air Force commander-in-chief’s decree, Russia’s whole fleet of Tu-95s will remain grounded until the investigation is complete, a press release from the Defense Ministry stated

The four-engine Tu-95 (NATO codename Bear) is a long-range strategic bomber capable of carrying missiles. It first entered service in the Soviet Union in 1956.