Middle East

Russian pilots killed in plane crash off Syrian coast

The two-seater Sukhoi-30SM crashed shortly after take-off in Latakia Province (Reuters)

A Russia military jet in Syria crashed shortly after take-off on Thursday morning, killing both members of its crew, Russian news agencies said.

The advanced two-seater Sukhoi-30SM jet had taken off from Russias Hmeymim airbase in Latakia Province. Agencies cited the Ministry of Defence in Moscow as saying its two crew members had tried in vain to save the plane until the last moment.

The airbase is far from frontlines and the ministry said that it suspected an accident, rather than enemy fire, had brought down the plane.

"According to preliminary information, the reason for the aviation disaster could have been birds getting into the engine," the RIA news agency cited the ministry as saying. "The plane was not struck by any projectile."

Images posted on social media, which couldnt be verified, appeared to show the jet had crashed into the Mediterranean sea.

#Breaking: Initial reports, Russian warplane crashed off the coast of Latakia #Syriapic.twitter.com/0dvRIYxqd6

— Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) May 3, 2018

The Russian military is active in Syria supporting the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the seven-year civil war. Russian warplanes have been used to carry out ground attacks against rebel groups and a limited number of special forces and ground troops have been deployed.

The crashed plane was among Russia's most advanced and performed its maiden flight in 2012. In Syria, it was used to launch air-to-ground missiles at rebel targets and to escort attack jets and strategic bombers.

Original Article


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