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19 Jun, 2009 14:37

Strategic bomber flights suspended after second crash in a week

The Russian Air Force has suspended all flights of Su-24 frontline bombers after a second jet crash within the last week.

The latest incident took place in Rostov region in the South of Russia on Friday, while the plane was attempting to land after a routine flight.

Technical problems have been blamed for the accident. Both pilots were able to eject and survived.

"The crew members are fine. Nothing has been destroyed and no one has been killed on the ground. The pilots tried to save the plane until the last moment," Colonel Vladimir Drik, aide to the Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief said.

A team of Defense Ministry experts and top Air force officials have left for the crash site to determine the cause of the crash, he said.

On Wednesday, a similar plane crashed on the runway while also coming in to land in Murmansk region in the Northwest of Russia. There were also no casualties in the crash.

In all, twelve Su-24 bombers have crashed during the last eleven years, leaving ten people dead.

The Su-24 was the Soviet Union's most advanced all-weather interception and attack aircraft in the 1970s and 1980s. Its later, modified models are still in service in Russia and other former Soviet states.