YEKATERINBURG, October 30 (Itar-Tass) — The military grounded the Su-24 bombers at the Shagol air base following the crash of a Su-24 in the Chelyabinsk region earlier on Tuesday. "The flights have been suspended until further notice," Yaroslav Rosshchupkin, an aide to the Central Military District commander, told Itar-Tass.
The Defence Ministry said the Su-24 met with an accident during a flight before scheduled repairs. "It crashed near the village of Yetkul, 67 kilometers southeast of the Shagol airfield," the press service of the Defence Ministry told Tass.
"The crew of two have ejected. The plane fell far from settlements. At 13:21, Moscow time, the crew reported the accident," a military official said.
The plane did not carry weapons or ammunition and its crash did not cause any damage on the ground.
A commission will visit the crash site to ascertain the cause, according to the Ministry.
Subsequent reports said the crew had been trying to land the warplane until the last moment. They selected an unpopulated area before ejecting.
The Su-24M bomber was added to the Air Force's arsenal in 1985. Its maximum takeoff mass is 40 tons and maximum speed is 2,300 km/h. It has a range of 4,300 kilometers and a maximum altitude of 17,500 meters. It can carry eight tons of ammunition.