Two crew members on board a Russian fighter jet died in a training flight crash on Saturday, Russian state media reported.
The news agency Tass said the Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft crashed “in a deserted area” in the Kaliningrad region, which is the western-most part of the Russian Federation and borders the Baltic States.
The Telegram channel 112 said that the plane crashed in the region’s Chernyakhovsky district and said that “according to our information, the crew did not have time to eject.” It added that during the accident “there was a bang in the air.” Newsweek has contacted Russia’s defense ministry for comment via email.
The Su-30 fighter is a Soviet-era twin-engine, two-seat fighter aircraft which has been used extensively during Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine
Russia’s Western Military District, in which Kaliningrad lies, said no ammunition was on board the plane and that according to preliminary information the cause of the crash was a technical malfunction, Tass reported.
The Russian air force has suffered non-combat crashes that some observers have attributed to a higher number of flights amid the fighting in Ukraine. Experts have also highlighted issues of inadequate training for Russian pilots and poor aircraft maintenance.
Last month, a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean near the Kamchatka Peninsula during a training flight over Avacha Bay, according to Tass, which said that Russian Navy rescuers were deployed to search for the crew.
Also last month, a Russian Su-25 fighter-bomber aircraft crashed into the Sea of Azov near the town of Yeysk. Video footage circulating online shows beachgoers witnessing the pilot ejecting from the aircraft as it headed towards the water. He died after reportedly getting tangled in his parachute.
In October last year, a Sukhoi Su-34 bomber crashed into an apartment block in the city of Yeysk in the southern Krasnodar region, killing 15 people. The same month a Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet crashed into a residential building in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, killing at least two.
Also in October 2022 video showed a pilot ejecting from a Russian Sukhoi Su-25 jet before it crashed in an unknown area. Meanwhile, in June 2022, an Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane crashed and caught fire near the city of Ryazan after attempting an emergency landing due to an engine malfunction on a training flight.
Following the spate of crashes, Britain’s defense ministry said last October that the Russian air force was struggling to provide enough aircrew for its invasion of Ukraine.
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