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MOSCOW, July 14. /TASS/. A Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bomber crashed in the Khabarovsk Territory in the Russian Far East during a training flight, the Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
"On July 14 at 9.50 a.m. Moscow time [0650GMT] the Tu-95MS aircraft crashed while performing a scheduled training flight some 80 kilometers from Khabarovsk. The crew ejected," the ministry said.
The flight was performed without an ammunition allowance. The plane crashed in a deserted area and there is no destruction on the ground.
The flight control head ordered the crew of a Tu-95MS strategic bomber to leave the plane by parachutes due to an onboard emergency situation.
"According to preliminary information, after a report by the crew’s commander about an emergency situation, the flight control head ordered the crew to leave the plane by parachutes. The search and rescue groups are looking for the plane’s crewmembers," the Defense Ministry said.
A source told TASS that an Antonov An-12 aircraft, as well as two Mi-8 helicopters had been sent to search for the crew of the plane.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has suspended the flights of Tupolev Tu-95MS (NATO reporting name: Bear) strategic bombers.
"By decision of the Air Force Commander-in-Chief, the flights of Tu-95MS planes have been suspended until the causes of the plane’s crash in the Khabarovsk Territory are established," the Defense Ministry’s press office said in a statement.
The Defense Ministry’s press office said that a technical failure is the likely cause for the crash.
"According to preliminary data, a technical failure could be the cause for the Tu-95MS crash," the press office said.
A source told TASS that the strategic bomber crashed due to failure of all of its four engines.
This is not the first incident recently involving the TU-95 strategic bomber. On June 8, the TU-95MC aircraft skidded off runway in the Amur region because of the burning engine. There was no ammunition on board. Several crew members sustained injuries of varying severity when leaving the plane and were taken to hospital.
On June 4, two accidents occurred in the Russian Air Force: the MiG-29 fighter jet crashed near the Ashuluk range, and in Voronezh the Su-34 bomber flipped over whilst landing. The pilots in both cases survived.
On July 3, the MiG-29 fighter jet fell near Krasnodar, the pilot managed to eject, and on July 6 the SU-24 crashed in the Khabarovsk territory, both pilots died.