During a training flight on Monday, a Russian SU-34 fighter jet crashed into a residential building in the western city of Yeysk, killing at least 13 people.
State-run news agency RIA Novosti cited the Russian Defense Ministry as reporting the incident as a fire caused by one of the engines.
It was the ignition of one of the engines during take-off that caused the plane crash, according to the reports of the pilots who were ejected. According to a statement from the ministry, the fuel of the Su-34 ignited at the crash site in one of the residential quarters.
The ejected pilots were reportedly both alive.
As of Tuesday morning, 13 bodies were removed from the debris, including three children, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Earlier reports said 25 people were injured.
A narrow stretch of the Sea of Azov separates Yeysk from occupied Russian territory in southern Ukraine.
The aftermath of the crash showed smoke billowing and fire blazing in the residential area. A building that housed hundreds of people was engulfed by flames.
The Kremlin said in a statement that Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked authorities to provide all necessary assistance to the crash victims.
According to the Krasnodar Krai region’s prosecutor’s office and the Southern Military District’s military prosecutor’s office, an investigation has been launched into the incident.
Local officials said the fire, which raged through more than a dozen apartments in the multistory building, was later contained.
Aircraft remains have been extinguished. Residents of nearby houses have been evacuated. The fire has been contained, Veniamin Kondratyev, head of Krasnodar Krai region, said on his Telegram channel, citing a statement from the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
A local government security service told TASS that about 100 people had been evacuated from the building.
A fire caused by the crash was reported to be 2,000 square meters wide by the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.
Roman Bublik, the head of the affected district in Yeysk, said that all the assistance needed will be provided to the residents of the nine-story building that caught fire.
According to a Russian state media report earlier on Monday, an eyewitness described the chaos following the crash: “The plane crashed in our city. Ambulances and firefighters are coming from all over the city, helicopters are overhead,” said the eyewitness.”