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15 Aug, 2021 01:20

Legendary Russian test pilot Kuznetsov among eight killed after Be-200 firefighting plane crashed into Turkish mountain

Legendary Russian test pilot Kuznetsov among eight killed after Be-200 firefighting plane crashed into Turkish mountain

Test pilot Yevgeniy Kuznetsov was killed alongside four other Russian airmen in Turkey, on Saturday, when his Be-200 firefighting plane crashed into a mountain. Kuznetsov was famous for his exploits in the Arctic region.

The Beriev Be-200 amphibious plane crashed in Turkey’s southern province of Marash on Saturday. The aircraft carrying five Russian servicemen and three Turkish officials disintegrated on impact.

The collision occurred shortly after the plane dumped a load of water onto a mountain forest fire. So far, it’s unclear what caused the crash. The Russian military has sent in a team of investigators to probe the incident.

Turkish and Russian media reported that the plane was under the command of Kuznetsov, a veteran test pilot, who served for decades with the country’s carrier and amphibious aviation service.

Also on rt.com Russian firefighting plane battling wild blazes in Turkey crashes after dropping water on flames, killing all crew and passengers

Film producer Nataliya Gugueva, who directed a documentary about Russian military pilots based on Kuznetsov’s life, confirmed the reports of his death on social media, citing the pilot’s family.

Kuznetsov had led recent tests of Be-200 planes in the Russian Arctic. Last spring, he reportedly landed on Franz Josef Land, the world's northernmost archipelago. As part of its mission to expand its presence in the Arctic region, Moscow plans to upgrade a unique hydro airfield outside the northern city of Murmansk. A fleet of Be-200 planes – the aircraft's anti-submarine and rescue versions – is expected to be deployed there.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended his condolences to the families of the victims of the crash, instructing the Defense Ministry to bestow posthumous awards on the late Russian servicemen.

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