A Russian SU-34 fighter jet crashed into a residential building in the city of Yeisk on the Azov Sea on Monday during a training flight, according to Russian state media.
The incident was due to one of the engines catching fire, RIA Novosti reported, citing the Russian Defense Ministry.
“According to the expelled pilots’ report, the cause of the plane crash was the ignition of one of the engines during takeoff. At the scene of the Su-34 crash in the yard of one of the residential areas, the plane’s fuel ignited,” the ministry said in a statement to RIA.
“A SU-34 aircraft crashed while climbing to conduct a training flight from the Southern Military District Air Base,” the ministry added.
Pictures and videos of the aftermath of the crash showed plumes of smoke and fire blazing next to an apartment block.
Russian President Vladimir Putin directed the authorities to provide all necessary assistance to the victims of the military plane crash, the Kremlin said in a statement, adding that Putin had received reports from ministers and the head of the region on the situation.
At least four people died, authorities said, and about 25 people were injured, some seriously.
Officials have opened an investigation into the incident, according to the Prosecutor’s Office of Krasnodar Krai and the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Southern Military District.
An eyewitness told the Russian state media TASS that firefighters and ambulances had arrived at the scene.
“Plane crashed in our city… Ambulances and firefighters are coming from all over the city, helicopters are in the air,” the eyewitness said, as quoted by TASS.
The apartment building has nine floors, according to another resident who spoke to TASS. Another eyewitness said an entire house was on fire.
Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations told RIA that the area of fire caused by the crash was 2,000 square meters.
According to the head of the affected district in Yeysk, Roman Bublik, residents of a nine-story building that caught fire are being provided with all necessary assistance.
Veniamin Kondratyev, the governor of Krasnodar Krai, said in a statement that he was on his way to the city.
“The emergency services are already on site – all regional fire brigades and rescue garrisons are busy extinguishing the fire,” he said in a statement on his Telegram channel.