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19 Jan, 2019 14:08

2 bodies recovered after Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers collided above Sea of Japan

2 bodies recovered after Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers collided above Sea of Japan

The bodies of two airmen were found during a complicated search and rescue operation in stormy waters after two Russian Su-34 warplanes collided during a training flight. One crew member was saved, and one is still missing.

The bodies of two crew members were recovered during the search and rescue operation, the military confirmed. An aircraft navigator was earlier located and evacuated to safety. The Defense Ministry said he was found in “satisfactory condition,” receiving no life-threatening injuries. The officials continue to look for a fourth crew member.

The two Su-34 fighter-bombers collided with each other while maneuvering above the Sea of Japan, 35km off the coast in Russia’s Far East on Friday. Both crews ejected (a Su-34 jet typically has two crew members). The planes were on a training flight, flying in close formation. They had no weapons on board.

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The search efforts were impeded by a storm raging in the area. The surviving navigator was spotted and picked up by a helicopter as he was floating at sea with a life raft. Previous reports indicated that another crew member was saved but the Defense Ministry issued a correction, saying that so far only one person was found alive.

A number of planes and Mi-8 helicopters, as well as multiple ships from the Pacific Sea Fleet are participating in the rescue operation.

The Su-34 is a modern multi-purpose warplane, designed for striking ground targets, aerial combat, and surveillance flights.

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