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Su-34 co-pilot rescued — Defense Ministry

Two Sukhoi Su-34 fighter bombers collided on January 18

MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. A helicopter operated by the Russian Defense Ministry has rescued the co-pilot of the Sukhoi Su-34 aircraft, which crashed into the Sea of Japan, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Friday.

"The helicopter pilots of the Eastern Military District have found the co-pilot. The helicopter hovered over the rescue raft at first attempt, and the pilot was picked up by the helicopter. His health condition is satisfactory," the ministry said.

The rescue operation involves six ships of the Pacific Fleet, helicopters and a Tupolev Tu-142 anti-submarine aircraft. Rescuers’ work is complicated by difficult weather conditions, in particular, strong wind.

A source in the law enforcement agencies earlier told TASS that two Su-34 aircraft collided mid-air on Friday morning. The Russian Defense Ministry later reported that the incident occurred at 08:07 Moscow time when the two planes performing a planned training flight over the Sea of Japan 35 kilometers off the coast "touched each other in the air." The ministry added that they carried no weapons.