A Russian SU-34 fighter jet crashed into a residential building in the western city of Yeysk, which lies on the Sea of Azov, during a training flight Monday, according to Russian state media.
The incident was due to one of the engines catching fire, reported RIA Novosti, which cited Russia’s defense ministry.
“According to the report of the ejected pilots, the cause of the plane crash was the ignition of one of the engines during take-off. At the site of the crash of the Su-34 in the courtyard of one of the residential quarters, the plane’s fuel ignited,” the ministry said in a statement to RIA.
“A SU-34 aircraft crashed while climbing to perform a training flight from the military airfield of the Southern Military District,” the ministry added.
Images and videos of the crash’s aftermath showed smoke billowing and fire blazing next to a residential block.
Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed authorities to provide all necessary assistance to the victims of the military jet crash, the Kremlin said in a statement, adding that Putin has received reports from the ministers and the head of the region on the situation.
At least four people have died, authorities said, and some 25 people were injured, some severely.
Officials have opened an investigation into the incident, according to the prosecutor’s office of the Krasnodar Krai region and the military prosecutor’s office of the Southern Military District.
An eyewitness told Russian state media TASS that firefighters and ambulances have arrived at the scene.
“Plane crashed in our city … Ambulances and firefighters are coming from all over the city, helicopters are in the air,” said the eyewitness, as quoted by TASS.
The residential building has nine floors, according to another resident who spoke to TASS. A separate eyewitness said an entire house was on fire.
The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations told RIA that the area of the fire caused by the crash is 2,000 square meters wide.
According to the head of the affected district in Yeysk, Roman Bublik, the residents of a nine-story building that caught fire will be provided with all the necessary support.
Veniamin Kondratyev, the Governor of Krasnodar Krai region, said in a statement that he is on his way to the city.
“Emergency services are already working on the spot – all regional fire and rescue garrisons are engaged in extinguishing the fire,” he said in a statement on his Telegram channel.