A Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet crashed into a residential house in a Siberian town of Irkutsk, killing both pilots.
The accident occurred in the evening of October 23, 2022. According to local officials and media, there were no casualties on the ground.
A fire erupted and spread, covering an area of over 200 square meters, the governor of Irkutsk region Igor Kobzev wrote in a Telegram post.
A dive into residential area
The crash destroyed a house where two families lived, Kobzev added in a separate post. The residents were not at home at the time.
Electric lines were damaged in the crash, which resulted in power being cut to over 150 houses, according to Kobzev.
According to a statement by the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, the aircraft was conducting a test flight.
Footage of the crash, which was captured by dashcams of several passing cars, shows the aircraft diving straight down before erupting in a ball of fire on the ground.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) October 23, 2022
Tragic test flight
According to Russian media, the aircraft was flown by two seasoned test pilots, who were testing the aircraft before its transfer to the military.
The pilots – Maxim Koniushin and Viktor Kryukov – have been test-flying aircraft for Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation for several years, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti writes.
According to Russian Telegram channel Mash, two Su-30SM fighter jets took off on a test flight from a nearby airbase. While one of them landed shortly after, another one stopped responding to air traffic control.
A third Sukhoi fighter jet took off to establish contact, Mash writes. After its pilots approached the non-responsive jet, they saw the pilots unconscious in the cockpit.
Preliminary findings show that both pilots lost consciousness, possibly due to problems with the aircraft’s oxygen supply, RIA Novosti reports referring to an unnamed official close to the investigation.
Several eyewitnesses, interviewed by Russian news website Ngs24.ru, said they saw the jet performing strange maneuvers in the sky: rapidly gaining and losing altitude, before spinning out of control “like a barrel” and diving down. The witnesses confirm that at least one other jet was in the sky at the same time.
This is the second crash of a Russian fighter jet into civilian infrastructure this week.
On October 17, 2022, a Sukhoi Su-34 strike aircraft crashed into an apartment building in the city of Yeysk, killing 13.