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18 Jan, 2019 07:29

2 Su-34 fighter-bombers collide mid-flight in Russia’s Far East – MoD

2 Su-34 fighter-bombers collide mid-flight in Russia’s Far East – MoD

Two Su-34 jets accidentally hit each other mid-flight over the sea in Russia’s Far East. The crews of the planes ejected. One crewmember was evacuated to safety as a search and rescue operation is underway.

The jets “touched” each other in air while flying over the Sea of Japan, the Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed, saying that the incident occurred 35km from the coast. The collision happened during a training flight and the planes were not carrying any weaponry.

The crews of the planes ejected, media reported. The Defense Ministry confirmed that one crewmember was already located and evacuated without life-threatening injuries. The search and rescue operation continues. Three planes, three Mi-8 helicopters, as well as five ships have been dispatched to the crash area. More ships from the Pacific Sea Fleet are on the way to join the search.

Before the official confirmation from the Defense Ministry, Russian media issued multiple conflicting reports on the incident, citing sources with the military and emergency services. A source told Interfax that one of the planes might have been able to stay airborne and reach the base on its own, while other reports suggested that only one plane crashed. 

The Su-34 is a modern medium-range fighter-bomber, adopted by the Russian Air Force in the mid-2010s. The plane is expected to replace the aging Su-24 bomber, which has remained in service since the 1970s. The Su-34 is able to carry a large variety of weapons, ranging from precision-guided bombs to assorted missiles.

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