Aviation News

October 20, 2011

Russian Fighter Jet Crashes Near China Border, Killing Both Pilots

Two pilots were killed early Thursday morning when their fighter jet crashed while landing at an airbase in Russia’s Far East, officials said.

Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer in flight circa 1989

Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer in flight, circa 1989. (Photo by US Dept. of Defense)

The Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer bomber aircraft crashed while trying to land at approximately 6:02 a.m. local time at the Ukrainka air base in the country’s Amur region, which is located near the border with China, Russian Air Force spokesman Colonel Vladimir Dirk told the ITAR-TASS news agency.

According to Dirk, the aircraft caught fire and overturned during the landing, killing both pilots. Details remain uncertain but reports indicate the aircraft caught fire in the air, causing it to skid off the runway. Other reports said the plane’s tail hit the runway during landing.

Dirk explained that the twin-engine, two-seater Fencer was performing a planned flight from Voronezh to undergo maintenance. However, the spokesman said the aircraft was “in a good working condition” and the incident was likely due to a pilot error.

Meanwhile, a criminal case was opened regarding the incident by the military investigation department of the Russian Investigative Committee (SK) for the Belogorsky garrison. SK personnel have already been deployed to the scene.