A military aircraft crashed into a residential building in the southern Russian city of Yeysk after what the defence ministry said was engine failure.
Unconfirmed footage on social media showed a large fireball erupting from a multi-story building on Monday. There were no immediate reports on the number of casualties.
The aircraft was identified as a Sukhoi Su-34 fighter jet. The crew managed to eject before the plane crashed, according to Russia’s defence ministry.
A large blaze engulfed the building, stoked by the jet fuel, and witnesses on the scene were quoted by Russia’s Tass news agency as saying it was on fire from the first to the ninth floor. Firefighters were battling the blaze.
“While climbing to perform a training flight from the military airfield of the southern military district, a Su-34 aircraft crashed,” a ministry statement said. “The cause of the crash of the aircraft was a fire in one of the engines during takeoff.”
Interfax quoted the local emergencies ministry as saying five floors of the apartment building were on fire, the upper floors had collapsed, and about 45 apartments were damaged.
Yeysk is located on the coast of the Sea of Azov, which separates southern Ukraine and southern Russia.
Russia’s investigative committee later announced it launched a criminal investigation into the crash. “Military investigators are establishing the circumstances and causes of the incident,” it said.__Al Jazeera